Racial discrimination has some very harmful social effects. But, can discrimination in medicine lead to good outcomes? This is an emerging question in medical ethics. It is undoubtedly true that some individuals are more genetically prone to some diseases than others. But, we should not rush to judgment, and believe that race may be a good guide in order to discover what diseases an individual is more susceptible to. Illnesses such as sickle cell-anemia and Tay Sachs disease have long been thought to have a racial correspondence. This is in fact not true. There have also been attempts to prescribe specific drugs for specific racial groups, but this is done under some shaky assumptions. Furthermore, one must not lose sight of the fact that disease is a bio-psycho-social process, and in this sense, genetic predispositions are only one factor among many others that relate more to the way things are socially constructed.



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