June 13, 2005
Heart Guard

Pat gets a healthy thumping no-prize for bringing us this story of a new heart drug that's intended for a single race:

In 1997, a new heart failure treatment called BiDil appeared dead on arrival. The Food and Drug Administration rejected the drug, saying that studies supporting it were inconclusive.

Then, proponents of BiDil refocused their strategy. This Thursday, eight years after the drug was rejected for use in the general public, an F.D.A. panel will consider whether BiDil should become the first drug intended for one racial group, in this case, African-Americans.

I do agree race can sometimes be a very vague definition, but (they claim) the data is sound. Of course, any time you enter Americas Great Cultural Minefield, explosions are inevitable. Only time will tell if this helps anyone, regardless of skin color.

Posted by scott at June 13, 2005 12:39 PM

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This drug was first tested in the 80s at VA Hospitals where it was noted to be more effective in African Americans(males that is, most all drug studies are done on middle aged white males).The research was drop then and has just been continued in the last few years.

Posted by: Pat on June 13, 2005 01:08 PM

It's interesting to see something like this. The only issue that I can see (just in general)was, in fact, pointed out in the article. The tests were only done on African-American men. What they don't appear to know is why the drug works better. Is it due to specific proteins that just happen to be more prevalent in this group? Or are they more prevalent in a specific population of African-Americans? While I can understand the 'prohibitively expensive' constraint on further research, I think it'd be good to dig a bit deeper.

Posted by: ronaprhys on June 13, 2005 01:33 PM
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