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Civil Rights and Medical Leaders Call for Social Justice in Health Care
Date:9/27/2007

said. "But encouragingly, we have witnessed a positive trend in heart health in America. Between 1994 and 2004 the death rate from coronary artery disease has declined by 33 percent. Kudos for medical science. Unfortunately, African Americans have not enjoyed the same benefit of this science. The cardiovascular death rate in Blacks dropped by only 11 percent. African Americans have twice the incidence of first stroke. And if you're a Black male, you can expect to live 13 years less than a White female." The explanation for the disparity in cardiovascular health is complex. Black Americans are diagnosed at a younger age and, when diagnosed, are more progressed, and mortality is higher. The causes of chronic heart failure in Blacks differ from the causes in Whites. During the past 25 years, Dr. DeVaughn noted, African Americans have benefited, but to a lesser degree, from advancements in treatments for congestive heart failure.

"It should be clear to even the non-medical observer than a unique solution is called for," said Dr. DeVaughn. "A race neutral approach to this entity has not worked, and has been responsible for thousands and thousands of unnecessary deaths."

Dr. Ofili, Dr. Williams, and Dr. DeVaughn, decried the appalling lack of support for adoption of BiDil, the scientifically-proven therapy that, in clinical trial, resulted in unprecedented improvement in the health status, and in reduced costs of related health care, for African-Americans with chronic heart failure by reducing mortality rates, reducing hospitalizations, and improving overall quality of life. Although the Food and Drug Administration approved BiDil in 2005, the use of BiDil in Black patients with chronic heart failure is still in single digits.

Dr. Ofili expressed particular concern about the daily obstacles that physicians face from drug benefit plans who continue to erroneously advocate for unproven therapies as substitutes for BiDil. "By ignoring the scientific evidenc
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SOURCE National Minority Quality Forum
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
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