NYU'S Duster cautions against FDA approval of 'race-based' pharmaceutical

t failure than are Caucasians in the same age range. However, in the Science article, Duster responds that this age group accounts for only 6 percent of heart-failure mortality and that these statistical differences in heart failure between African Americans and Caucasians over 64 nearly disappear.

Duster bolsters his conclusions by drawing from previously published research on race and health risks. Findings published in the journal BMC Medicine, he writes, show that blacks from Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States show less disparity in hypertension rates than do whites from Europe, the United States, and Canada. The study also concluded that differences in hypertension rates between light-skinned African Americans and dark-skinned African Americans was attributed to the latter group having less access to medical and other resources in the United States.

"The ability to use genomic knowledge to deliver effective pharmaceuticals more safely to special subpopulations that have some functional genetic markers holds promise," Duster writes. "If the FDA approves BiDil, it should do so only under the condition that further research be conducted to find the markers that have the actual functional association with drug responsiveness, thus assuring that the drug be approved for everyone with those markers, regardless of their ancestry or of their ancestral informative markers."


Contact: James Devitt
New York University

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