As the FDA is fast-tracking promising treatments, vaccines and tests for the coronavirus, a ground-breaking, first-of-its kind study is telling us that women serving on a medical company’s board could literally save your life.
According to the study, called “The Influence of Female Directors on Product Recall Decisions,” highly-defective medical products and treatments are recalled 28 days faster – 35% faster – when more than one woman is on the board of directors, compared to all-male boards. “For these types of recalls, (that) is truly a matter of life or death,”according to the study’s executive summary. It continued, “It’s only when there are at least two female directors on the board that the timeliness of severe product recalls increases; when there are three female directors, the recall decision moves along even faster.” These can be prescription drugs “or life-sustaining medical devices.”
A group of top researchers from four universities reviewed medical product recalls of 4,271 products – including pharmaceuticals, devices such as stents, and biologics – from 92 public companies between 2002 and 2013 for this study.
“It’s only when there are at least two female directors on the board that the timeliness of severe product recalls increases; when there are three female directors, the recall decision moves along even faster.”
The first to study the relationship between female board members and medical product recalls, it also found that there are other medical product defects we may never know about unless there are female directors. It says that lower severity, non-life-threatening product defects that can be hidden from regulators, are recalled 120% more often when women are on the board.
Our firms’ informal review of 20 COVID-19 treatments and vaccines in development found that 40%, or eight, had either no women or only one woman on their board. Remdesivir, a coronavirus treatment recently fast-tracked by the FDA for example, is being developed by Gilead, which has four women directors on their board of nine.