Late Thursday, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted unanimously to recommend approval of a new heart medication for black patients.
The drug is Bidil. If the agency follows this panel's advice, which it usually does, this would be the first time ever the FDA has approved a drug based on race. Some argue this is unfair bias...that the drug would probably work on anyone, because there is no difference in black and white. But the studies were done on blacks, because three quarters of a million black Americans suffer from chronic heart failure.
"If we're sitting on information that shows we have a drug that significantly improves the risk of death, 43% and we don't move forward with that, imagine how negative that would be," says Dr. Clyde Yancy with The University of Texas Southwest Medical School.
The drug maker is Nitromed. Wall Street is already predicting $825 million in annual sales when Bidil becomes available suggesting that it will eventually used by all races.