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BiDil in Treatment Plan of Black Patients with Congestive Heart Failure

WHEREAS, Blacks and other racial and ethnic minorities experience worse patient health outcomes for a variety of diseases and conditions than their white counterparts; and

WHEREAS, congestive heart failure affects approximately five million Americans and more than 750,000 are Black; and

WHEREAS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Blacks between the ages of 45 and 64 are 2.5 times more likely to die from heart failure than Caucasians in the same age range; and

WHEREAS, Blacks also present with congestive heart failure earlier than other patient populations and, as a result, die sooner; and

WHEREAS, heart failure drugs have traditionally been tested overwhelmingly in Caucasians, causing researchers to develop recommendations and treatment regimens for all populations based on these study results; and

WHEREAS, some medicines approved for the treatment of heart failure, such as ACE inhibitors, appear to be less effective in Black patients; and

WHEREAS, the African American Heart Failure Trial (A-HeFT) included 1,050 self-identified African American patients with congestive heart failure; and

WHEREAS, the A-HeFT was a revision of the Vasodilator Hear Failure Trial (V-HeFT) study and conducted by National Medical Association (NMA) physicians who are members of the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) as well as internationally renowned with extensive experience in treating Black patients that have cardiovascular disease; and

WHEREAS, A-HeFT trial outcomes were astounding: the clinical trial supports the FDA releasing this drug for use in Black patients with congestive health failure based on the fact that there was a 43% reduction in mortality for patients that received the drug versus those that received the placebo; and

WHEREAS, a new heart failure medication, BiDil was approved in June of 2005 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with a specific indication for Blacks suffering from this debilitating disease; and 

WHEREAS, this represents a new era in developing targeted therapies for specific patient populations; and

WHEREAS, BiDil has the potential to save thousands of lives a year in a population that has been disproportionately impacted by congestive heart failure; and

WHEREAS, the NAACP fully supports targeted research efforts, like A-HeFT to help determine the root of existing health disparities; and

WHEREAS, the NAACP is in strong support of clinical trials that reduce mortality and morbidity in all patients; and

WHEREAS, the potential for biases and discrimination in the development, marketing and dissemination of personalized medications exist; and

WHEREAS, the NAACP, as the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization, must protect against injustice and inequity in healthcare; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP encourages Black patients with significant congestive heart failure to discuss with their physician BiDil and other treatment modalities, acknowledging that, in actuality, the variation in response to pharmaceuticals such as Bidil is based upon genetic variation. Studies are needed to determine which genetic profile or sequences respond to different medications; this is the basis for personalized medicine, the future of pharmaceuticals.