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Race in a BottleThe Story of BiDil and Racialized Medicine in a Post-Genomic Age$
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Jonathan Kahn

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231162999

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231162999.001.0001

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Statistical Mischief and Racial Frames for Drug Development and Marketing

Statistical Mischief and Racial Frames for Drug Development and Marketing

(p.71) 3 Statistical Mischief and Racial Frames for Drug Development and Marketing
Race in a Bottle

Sheldon Krimsky

Columbia University Press

This chapter unfolds around the story of an inaccurate statistic claiming that African-Americans suffered mortality from heart failure at a rate twice that of whites. The origins and circulation of this statistic provides a sustained analysis of the power of race to take on a life of its own once introduced into a conceptual system for making sense of health disparities. BiDil's proponents used this statistic, in conjunction with equally problematic assertions that angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (another class of drugs to treat heart failure) do not work well in blacks, to create a racial frame for BiDil that played a central role in driving the drug toward its race-specific approval by the FDA.

Keywords:   African-Americans, heart failure, BiDil, health disparities, angiotensin-converting enzyme, race-specific approval, FDA

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