Thursday, January 25, 2007

Even the NAACP can be stupid sometimes

An NAACP official blames U.S. government policy for alleged disparity in treating African-Americans with heart failure.

Juan M. Cofield, president of the NAACP's New England council in Boston, strongly criticized Medicare for what he called lack of promotion for insurance coverage of BiDil, a cardiac medication for blacks, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Medicare's stance "is so contrary to evidence-based medicine and so extraordinary that it arouses suspicions of institutional racism," said the sharply worded letter.

The missive highlighted tension between the Boston regional office of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the local civil rights group over BiDil, the only drug approved for use by one race.
I've got a better line: Medicare's stance is so consistent with evidence-based medicine and completely predictable by those who understand that health policy is supposed to actually, say, promote the well-being of those underserved by the health care system rather than just give in to the joke science that a quick-buck-seeking drug company threw together to market two generic drugs in a combination pill in an insulting play on the legitimate insecurities of the African-American community.

Now, Cofield is probably a smart dude with his heart in the right place. African-American community leaders are clearly warranted in taking their suspicions of the medical community to near conspiracy-theory levels (because the AA community actually had a conspiracy pulled on them in recent memory and all). But he's also obviously underequipped to evaluate medical evidence or health policy.

You might ask, what's the white dude got to say about this? Well, this white dude has received all of his policy education on BiDil from evidence-based material presented by black dudes, and those black dudes, who are, ya know, faculty in health sciences, seemed to have their ducks in a row. Mr Cofield doesn't.

BiDil isn't a medication for blacks. It's a medication that is marketed to blacks in hopes that doctors A) won't know how to evaluate evidence, or B) will give in to political pressure from a community that's been hoodwinked before. BiDil is an insult to the African American community, inflicted by a company that believes that, instead of advancing science, it can simply manipulate science with hazy politics and make lots of money.

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