Time: July 4, 2005
The first race specific drug ever has just been approved by the FDA. BiDil took eight years to be approved by the FDA. The drug is specifically for African-Americans, yet it has encountered many hardships in finding the acceptance of the African-Americans.
BiDil makers, NitroMed, are having a hard time convincing African-Americans that BiDil will not be a repeat of the famous Tuskegee experiment. In Tuskegee, doctors denied around 400 African-Americans for treatment for syphilis so as to observe the long-term effects of syphilis. The scars of this experiment run deeply in the African-American community, leaving many suspicious of medicine that is specifically for them. Such an example is shown with that AIDS epidemic. Half of the AIDS cases in the US in comprised of African-Americans. A significant amount of African-Americans believe that there is a cure for AIDS, and that it is being withheld from the poor. Others believe that AIDS was created by the US government in order to control the black population. Thus, it is even harder for BiDil makers to make African-Americans comprehend that BiDil is not designed to be harmful to the race.
BiDil, beyond being suspicious for African-Americans, has always been conterversial. The drug is a combination of two older drugs. The purpose of BiDil is to treat congestive heart-failure. When the drug was first tested on a group, the FDA ruled that the results were not statistically significant. However, when the drug was retested on a group of African-Americans, definitely results were shown. There was a 43% reduction in the death rate and a 39% reduction in hospitalizations. Though BiDil did save lives, the makers failed to show whether the drug worked only in blacks, or if the drug just worked better in blacks.
BiDil can potentially be very useful to the black population. It certainly gives them an advantage in medical treatment, if such results prove to be true. The African-American population should try this medicine, as the drug has no intentions to harm the population.