Government Reminds To "Consider Race" For COVID-19 Medication

Race or ethnicity” may also put someone at higher risk for severe COVID-19, too, says the government.

The American Food and Drug Administration is now telling their health care providers to consider a patient’s race when deciding whether to administer COVID-19 drugs to them, the agency said in a fact sheet.

“Other medical conditions or factors (for example, race or ethnicity) may also place individual patients at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, and authorization of sotrovimab under the EUA is not limited to the medical conditions or factors listed above,” the FDA stated.

Three states — New York, Minnesota, and Utah — have also released similar guidance at the state level about considering race as an indicator of the risk of severe COVID.

In December, the New York health department released guidance saying that only COVID-19 patients who met certain criteria were eligible to receive monoclonal antibodies and oral antiviral treatment. Race was listed as one of the factors that increases a person’s risk for severe illness and should be taken into account.

“Non-white race or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity should be considered a risk factor, as longstanding systemic health and social inequities have contributed to an increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19,” New York’s health department stated in official guidance.

“Risk factors for hospitalization and mortality are now well-recognized and include age, cumulative comorbidities, male gender, shortness of breath, and importantly, but for reasons not well-understood, non-white race/ethnicity,” reads Utah’s state guidelines on administering monoclonal antibody treatment.

FDA guidelines were met with criticism from Dr. Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and former Housing and Urban Development secretary in the Trump administration. Carson said the guidance reminded him of the racial discrimination he endured as a child.

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