NPR Examines Issues Surrounding BiDil for Black Heart Failure Patients, Implications for Race-Based Drugs
NPR's "News & Notes" on Wednesday reported on BiDil, the first drug approved by FDA for use in a single racial group (Varney, "News & Notes," NPR, 12/13). FDA in June 2005 approved BiDil for use in black patients based on the results of a clinical study sponsored by the drug's manufacturer NitroMed, which found the medication reduced deaths by 43% within one year of use among black patients who had tried other medications. BiDil is reaching about 1% of the 750,000 U.S. blacks with congestive heart failure for whom it is intended, in part because of its high cost, the availability of an off-label generic alternative and restrictions under the Medicare prescription drug benefit (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 10/16). The NPR segment includes comments from Esteban Burchard, professor at the University of California-San Francisco's School of Medicine; Juan Cofield, member of the NAACP's health committee; Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, medical ethicist and professor at Stanford University; and Duane Stephens, a cardiologist in California ("News & Notes," NPR, 12/13). Audio of the segment is available online.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.