Australia

Medical research ignoring women: report

File image Source: AAP

Researchers are calling on the Australian government to require better reporting of results on females in medical trials, with women being ignored too often.

Women are being ignored in medical trials and reports, according to a report which calls for more medical research to include gender-specific data.

Failing to account for the different effects a drug may have on men and women compromises quality of care for women, according to the report released on Monday.

The paper's co-author and neurologist Cheryl Carcel told AAP the federal government needs to ensure sex and gender differences were included in future research.

Clinical trials "quite often" don't report specific results for males and females, according to Dr Carcel. Drugs which may be effective for both men and women could cause worse side effects in women.

The report by Dr Carcel and Dr Zoe Wainer recommends health bodies, researchers and governments develop guidelines and regulations on the issue.

The paper also says researchers should get extra funding to ensure sex and gender data was included.

"This is not simply a women's or men's health issue, but an issue for all Australians," they write.

Dr Carcel, a senior fellow at the George Institute for Global Health, said some medical research only tested male genes.

She pointed to a HIV-treatment drug in the United States that was approved only for men because researchers never tested it on women.

In Australia, Dr Carcel said they found women were not getting checked as much as men for cardiovascular disease risks.

Dr Carcel says funding bodies and medical journals should require the medical researchers deliver data on both men and women

Asked when all of this needs to happen, Dr Carcel simply says "yesterday".

"I don't know why it's taken Australia this long to get on board because its certainly been happening in other countries," she said.

"So we are really lagging behind."

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