A drug called BiDil is poised to become the first pharmaceutical ever approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat heart failure specifically in African Americans-and only African Americans. On March 8, 2001, NitroMed, then a privately held biotech firm in Massachusetts, issued a press release triumphantly announcing the receipt of a letter from the FDA "describing the regulatory status and ultimate approvability of BiDil®," pending the successful completion of a confirmatory trial of the drug in African Americans with heart failure. Press reports have already touted this breakthrough as the first "ethnic" drug to treat heart failure.
"How a Drug Becomes "Ethnic": Law, Commerce, and the Production of Racial Categories in Medicine,"
Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics:
1, Article 1.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjhple/vol4/iss1/1