Heart drug for blacks hard to swallow
November 10, 2004
WASHINGTON — At last, a drug of our own.
That was my initial reaction to the big news earlier this week that a new heart drug has been found for African-Americans.
The drug called BiDil, manufactured by NitroMed Inc. of Lexington, Mass., has dramatically reduced deaths and hospitalizations in black test patients, setting the stage for it to become the first drug approved for only one racial group.
As an African-American, I thought this was some of the best news that I have heard since the invention of low-fat soul food.
After all, black Americans are two-and-a-half times more likely than the general population to develop heart failure, which affects 5 million Americans.
But a blacks-only drug? The announcement raised questions in my curious mind: What happens if non-blacks take it? Will their skin turn dark and their hair turn kinky? Will they discover a new appreciation for Bill Clinton?
People who rejoice that “science” has found a blacks-only drug ignore the issue of racial classification. The drug will not be given to Hispanics or Arabs who have predominate African ancestry but don’t call themselves “black.” It will be given to predominately European folks who are (in my opinion) foolish enough to call themselves “black.”