Monday, January 08, 2007

Tiger Woods could die

There's this drug, which was approved in the U.S. last year, that was designed to treat heart problems. But get this, this drug was also designed--for Black people. "Bidil" is the only drug in America that is made for a specific racial group; in this case, African-Americans. As usual, this got me thinking. How Black do you have to be for this medication to work? And by "how Black," I mean: how much of your blood has to be African? When they tested this drug, they said it worked best for people who self-identitified as Black, but I don't think this will work when prescribing it, because not everyone who self-identifies as Black is going to be genetically Black enough for this drug to work. (A drug can't know your personal identity!). Whoever designed Bidil most likely didn't have mixed-race people in mind.

However, I can understand why people would want a drug like this. There are some diseases that are very common among a specific race. Like sickle-cell anemia and glaucoma, both of which affect Black people more than other ethnicities. But I don't think it's as easy as marketing a drug to people of a certain race...because there are people who aren't a certain race.

If you're reading this because of the strange title, then I won't disappoint you...I was imagining, what if these racial drugs were used in emergency rooms at hospitals? This could prove to be a disaster because race isn't always clear. If someone like Tiger Woods was rushed to the emergency room, the doctors would think he's Black just by looking at him; so they'd give him the drug for African-Americans...but he'd die anyways because he's only a quarter Black (many people assume he's all African-American). If these race medications were necessary, they'd have to give him the Asian drug because that's what most of his heritage is. Or better yet, give him an accurate dosage:

1/8 European drug
1/8 American Indian drug
1/4 Black drug
1/2 Asian drug


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