Male-centric medicine is affecting women’s health

In 1993, the United States' National Institutes of Health Revitalisation Act mandated the inclusion of 'women and minorities' in clinical trials in a bid to reduce health disparities. However, to date, gender disparities in clinical trials persist, as does a male-centric model of medicine which is still applied women, despite the physiological differences between the sexes. According to a study into mental health conducted in Tamil Nadu by co-founders and co-directors of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, more women than men aged 61-70 displayed symptoms indicating a high likelihood of depression. Despite this acknowledgement, studies repeatedly demonstrate that women are less likely to receive appropriate medications, diagnostic tests and clinical procedures for mental health issues across high-, middle- and low-income countries. It is time for policy intervention in the space of gender-specific research in medicine, with India’s G20 presidency an ideal time to highlight this issue.

The Hindu