Wonderful, trenchant analysis. EMM


BiDil-pillBiDil (2005) is the trade name for isosorbide dinitrate/hydralazine, a heart medicine for Blacks. It is the first race-based prescription drug approved by the US government’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In the 1980sDr Jay Cohn took two drugs that were no longer under patent, put them together and patented them as a heart medicine – not just for Blacks but for anyone. The FDA refused to approve it for general use: trials showed that on average it did not make much of a difference.

Cohn went back through the numbers from the trials and found that it did seem to help those who self-identified as Black. So he applied for a new patent: the very same drug but this time meant for Blacks.

Cohn licensed BiDil to NitroMed, a drug company, to carry out new trials and market it.

To persuade the FDA to allow new trials,

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