Cook: Race and the practice of medicine

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-10-25 20:50Z by Steven

Cook: Race and the practice of medicine

The Casper Star Tribune
Casper, Wyoming

Edith Cook

Edith Cook/Perspective

We now know once and for all that race is not a biological phenomenon but a social construct. The Human Genome Project, completed in 2000, established that, genetically, all of us human beings are more than 99.9 percent the same. When the project was completed, geneticist Greg Venter stated that the accomplishment illustrates that “the concept of race has no genetic or scientific basis.”

Astoundingly, racial and ethnic categories have appeared in the patents of gene-related biomedical patents. Drug firms increasingly target “ethnic niche markets” for drug development, promotion, and sale. That’s partly because the National Institute of Health Revitalization Act of 1993 mandates the use of census racial categories. The Food and Drug Modernization Act of 1997 also strongly encourages these outdated practices. The complexities of patent laws add to the problem.

These facts are thoroughly examined in Jonathan Kahn’sRace in a Bottle.” (He means pill bottle.) Kahn begins with “the story of BiDil.” In the 1980s, BiDil was a drug for everyone; it became racialized “primarily in response to an FDA ruling that placed in jeopardy the value of its owner’s original nonracial patent.”

Soon the commercial aspect of promoting the drug became center stage. Often African Americans are held to white norms, yet health disparities would be more aptly compared to other underserved groups, such as recent immigrants…

Read the entire article here.

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