Cardiologists' Perspectives on BiDil and the Use of Race in Drug Prescribing

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of racial and ethnic health disparities




African American; BiDil; Cardiologist; Prescription; Race


OBJECTIVES: We explored cardiologists' attitudes and prescribing patterns specific to the use of generic isosorbide dinitrate and hydralazine hydrochloride, and the fixed-dose patented drug, BiDil. BACKGROUND: Since the Food and Drug Administration approved BiDil in 2005 with an indication for self-identified black patients, disagreement about the appropriateness of race-based drugs has intensified and led to calls for providers and researchers to abandon race-based delimitations. This paper reports empirical evidence of cardiologists' views on BiDil's race-based indication and their ongoing inertia with respect to the debate about BiDil. METHODS: We conducted a 2010 cross-sectional online survey of members of the Association of Black Cardiologists. RESULTS: Fifty-nine cardiologists responded to the survey. Most participants (62.7%) prescribed BiDil to their patients. More than 40% of respondents did not prescribe BiDil to any non-African Americans. When considering whether to prescribe BiDil, a patient's race determined by physician assessment was the third most important factor considered by participants. The majority of participants (72.7%) selected symptoms as the most important factor. Most participants (59.2%) perceived race as defining biologically distinct individuals. Respondents prescribed BiDil more often to African American patients than non-African American patients. However, they prescribed the generic components that makeup BiDil to African Americans and non-African American patients similarly. CONCLUSIONS: The survey provides useful findings that, when viewed within the context of ongoing debates about race-based medicine, show little progress toward appropriately utilizing BiDil to maximize health outcomes, yet, might inform the development of practical and effective guidelines concerning the use of race in medicine.


Clinical Research and Leadership