FDA Approves Heart Failure Drug For Black Patients

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The first medicine made for a particular race has been approved by the FDA. The drug is called BiDil, and it is a heart failure medicine made for black people.

The FDA has referred to BiDil as “a step toward the promise of personalized medicine.” Questions have come up about the how race is treated in relationship to biology.

FDA Approves Heart Failure Drug For Black Patients

“On the one side, we have a history of ignoring ethnic minorities’ health concerns in this country. For many years, they were either not included in large-scale health studies or they were exploited,” said Fordham University’s Center for Ethics Education director Celia Fisher. “But different ethnic groups do have different health-care needs.” According to Amanda Gardner of HealthDay,

Heart failure is a prime example. The condition, in which the heart loses its pumping ability, affects approximately 5 million Americans, including an estimated 750,000 blacks. But blacks aged 45 to 64 are two-and-a-half times more likely to die from heart failure than whites of the same ages.

The FDA stressed just that point Thursday in approving BiDil as the first-ever race-based treatment for heart failure.

In a news release from the FDA, associate director of medical policy, Robert Temple MD calls the approval of the drug “a striking example of how a treatment can benefit some patients even if it does not help all patients.”

“The information presented to the FDA clearly showed that blacks suffering from heart failure will now have an additional safe and effective option for treating their condition,” said Temple. “In the future, we hope to discover characteristics that identify people of any race who might be helped by BiDil.”

“The downside is if people begin to assume that because it works in a particular minority group that it’s a genetic issue,” Fisher said. “As human beings, we share 99.9 percent of all our genes across race, and we haven’t been able to identify genes that define race, outside of skin color.”

BiDil is made from a combination of two older drugs – hydralazine and isosorbide dinitrate. One is a medicine used to treat high blood pressure, and the other treats chest pain.

Chris is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.

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