February 29, 2024

New heart drug uses racial profiling

Researchers have discovered that a heart drug is significantly more effective amongst African-Americans than amongst whites. The medication BiDil could become the first “ethnic medicine” to be licensed by the Food and Drug Administration. “There are populations of individuals who have different health vulnerabilities as well as different responses to medication,” says Dr Anne Taylor, of the University of Minnesota. “By exploring those differences, we understand disease mechanisms better, but we can also target therapy.”

The announcement has sparked a debate over racial profiling of drugs. Some researchers say that race is a biologically meaningless concept; others contend that genetic variation is not uniform and that medicines can be targeted at members of ethnic groups.