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Clinical Trials Exclude Gays and Lesbians

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Clinical trials financed by the federal government and pharmaceutical labs exclude gay and lesbian participants, says a study published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

According to Agence France-Presse, the study by the Fox Chase Cancer Center examined 80,000 clinical trials sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, other government agencies, and private industry. Lead study author Brian Egleston reported that 15% of trials used criteria that explicitly excluded gay and lesbian participants. Trials involving sexual function, such as for erectile dysfunction, were particularly exclusionary.

"Among the trials, those sponsored by industry, spread across several regions or conducted as Phase III trials -- randomized, controlled trials performed at several centers and among a large group of patients -- were more likely to exclude gays and lesbians, Egleston's study found," according to AFP.

"In order to make sure they did not miss a general pattern of exclusionary language, the researchers also examined 1,019 studies identified by the search term 'asthma.' That search did not find any studies that excluded lesbians and gay men."

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