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Attaining Equity of Access to Research: Perspective on Research in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Following Dolores Shockley Lecture at ASCPT2024.

Everybody deserves access to evidence-based information to make decisions about their health. However, in many situations, clinical trial eligibility criteria mean that specific data do not exist for certain groups of individuals. These include pregnant and breastfeeding women, children, older people, those with hepatic and renal dysfunction, those with acute severe illness, and those with multiple co-morbidities and interacting medications. Resultantly, there may not be specific drug-dosing information for many patients who are treated in a clinical setting. The ASCPT2024 Dolores Shockley Lecture focused on the equitable access to research with a specific focus on clinical pharmacology studies in pregnancy and breastfeeding. To ensure the safe, effective use of medication in pregnancy and breastfeeding, women should be included in clinical trials and pharmacokinetic studies when a medication is anticipated to be used in women of childbearing potential. Community groups should be involved at all stages of research to maintain transparency and trust. This ensures that local priorities are investigated, that communities understand the findings and are empowered to make evidence-based decisions about their own medication use. Principles informing the design of such studies in pregnancy and lactation are in existence. Mathematical techniques such as physiologically-based pharmacokinetic modeling and stochastic simulation and estimation can enhance study design, and population pharmacokinetic modeling be used to understand variability within and between individuals. Data should be made findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR). Information (and where necessary, training) regarding the use of these approaches should be provided to decision-making stakeholders such as ethics committees and regulatory bodies.

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