Jonathan Kahn


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.