Minority Health Archive

Race in a Bottle

Kahn, Jonathan (2007) Race in a Bottle. Scientific American.com.

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Two years ago, on June 23, 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first “ethnic” drug. Called BiDil (pronounced “bye-dill”), it was intended to treat congestive heart failure—the progressive weakening of the heart muscle to the point where it can no longer pump blood efficiently —in African-Americans only. The approval was widely declared to be a significant step toward a new era of personalized medicine, an era in which pharmaceuticals would be specifically designed to work with an individual’s particular genetic makeup. Known as pharmacogenomics, this approach to drug development promises to reduce the cost and increase the safety and efficacy of new therapies. BiDil was also hailed as a means to improve the health of African-Americans, a community woefully underserved by the U.S. medical establishment. Organizations such as the Association of Black Cardiologists and the Congressional Black Caucus strongly supported the drug’s approval. A close inspection of BiDil’s history, however, shows that the drug is ethnic in name only.

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Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Access to full text is subject to the publisher's access restrictions.
Uncontrolled Keywords: ethnic groups, ethnic drug, Food and Drug Aministration, pharmaceuticals, pharmacogenomics, African Americans, heart disease, genetic differences, health disparity, drugmakers, race-specific patent, race-specific drugs
Subjects: Health > Public Health > Chronic Illness & Diseases
Health > Public Health
Health > Pharmacotherapy
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    Depositing User: Users 141 not found.
    Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2011
    Last Modified: 12 May 2011 12:29
    Link to this item (URI): http://health-equity.lib.umd.edu/id/eprint/769

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