Pharma exec: Reliance on males in clinical trials has limited advances in women’s health

Dr. Gaurang Daftary, senior director of medical affairs, reproductive medicine and maternal health at Ferring Pharmaceuticals, said it was important for all the women attending BioNJ’s Inspiring Women in STEM conference to understand how they themselves have been affected by systemic limitations in women’s health care.

“Women respond differently to diseases and diseases are differently manifested in women — yet much of the research for available treatments have been based on male models,” he said. “We still need more female models in all sorts of clinical trials.”

Daftary was speaking at BioNJ’s fifth annual Inspiring Women in STEM conference, held last week at Sanofi U.S. headquarters in Bridgewater. More than 100 women with careers in all aspects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics attended.

Daftary said that, when it comes to health care for today’s society, there also needs to be a better distinction between gender and sex.

“Gender influences a lot in the way we behave and accept things, in the way we access health care, in the way we respond to physicians and in the way that we tolerate medicines or treatments that are given to us,” he said.

“For example, what is the point of giving someone a medication that is just not acceptable to their lifestyle, so, when they go home, they don’t take it? Then we haven’t really served anyone.”

Ferring Pharmaceuticals is a global biopharmaceutical company with U.S. headquarters in Parsippany.