Beyond BiDil: Race, Ethnicity, and the Case of Atrial Fibrillation

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J.Z. Garrod


BiDil, Atrial Fibrillation, Scientific Racism, Medical Sociology, Race, Ethnicity.


Using atrial fibrillation (AF) as a case, this article examines the contemporary relationship between the 'science' of race, and the development of new pharmacological products. Following from the controversy of the 'race-based' congestive heart failure drug BiDil in 2005, this article provides an analysis of the way in which contemporary studies of AF are concerned with developing race-based medicines for populations in which the construction of race is both unscientific, socially contingent, and extremely problematic. Through: (1) an historical analysis of the development of the concept of race and scientific racism, (2) the introduction of BiDil, and (3) the use of race within current studies of AF, this article argues that race-based medical practices are misguided, treating the body as if it holds the answer to what are primarily social problems. It thus recommends the destruction of race as a category of scientific medical practice and research.