Essay about The Dangers of Race Based Medicine

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The Dangers of Race-Based Medicine An analysis of new drug therapies specifically targeted towards African American populations with hypertension. I. Introduction to Contemporary Race-Based Therapeutics On November 11th, 2004, NitroMed, a Massachusetts based pharmaceutical company published a study on the effects of a new drug called BiDil in treating heart failure among African Americans in the New England Journal of Medicine (Taylor 2049). Since announcing the study, NitroMed’s research has sparked controversy surrounding the ethical implications and scientific evidence of race-based medicine. This study marks a breakthrough in race-based drug treatments as the first pharmaceutical ever researched, endorsed and targeted for a…show more content…
Race-based medications seem highly personalized to the consumer but are simply a short cut to the goal of individually-specific medication. Marketing drugs targeted at particular phenotypes such as race is incredibly lucrative for pharmaceutical companies. For NitroMed, this factor will be especially important because African Americans have far higher cases of hypertension than whites while tending to be less responsive to normal treatments than their white counterparts. When the scientific community begins to spread unfounded hypotheses regarding genetic differences between races, particularly differences that attribute poorer health or increased susceptibility to disease among minority groups, a Pandora’s Box is opened of potential dangers which can aid proponents of racist doctrines. Historically, scientific studies that sought to prove biological differences among races have led to violently racist movements like slavery, colonialism, and the Holocaust. Hence, as other pharmaceutical companies follow NitroMed’s path and begin marketing drugs targeted for specific racial groups, the dangers of such race-based therapeutics must be acknowledged. Finally, advocates of race-based medicine claim that the scientific underpinnings are irrelevant if a medication is proven to be effective for a particular group. In such a way, race-based medicine is a short-term solution, treating the symptoms of race-related disease without understanding the
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