Knowledge is power. Over the past several years, great strides have been made in making research gender-specific. This has resulted in a drop in women’s deaths from heart disease, but it is still the number 1 killer of US women. This Friday is National Wear Red Day, a promotion by the American Heart Association to bring attention to women’s heart issues. It’s important to remember that even though much progress has been made, there is still a long way to go and the field of women’s heart research is still wide open, especially when it comes to the medical device space.
The FDA tracks gender-specific research for both the pharma and medical device sectors, and issues guidelines for evaluating sex-specific data in medical device clinical trials (click here to view the FDA’s guidelines). Though gender balance in med-device research still lags behind pharma, the industry has corrected at least the reporting of gender-specific results. One hurdle that the med-device industry faces that pharma does not is technology: how to engineer smaller devices or different configurations that takes into account women’s anatomy. However, limitations drive creativity, and the need to innovate smaller and safer devices could benefit both women and men, even potentially lowering healthcare costs by replacing current methods with less-invasive alternatives.
The medical device and pharma industries are already working together to implement better science by paying attention to women and making research more inclusive, but what can we do? Here at the Matchstick Group, we’ll definitely be wearing red. We also recommend all women (and men!) watch this very relatable video put out by the American Heart Association showing how women’s heart attacks differ from the well known symptoms of heart attacks in men:
The more awareness of women’s heart health we can raise, the better off everyone will be. Happy American Heart Month!