Company behind controversial medicine stumbles

Last year a tiny company named NitroMed made headlines with a clinical trial that appeared to offer dramatic evidence suggesting that a heart drug that didn't do very much for some patients did wonders for others. That evidence suggested that blacks who were given the drug BiDil after going into heart failure increased their odds of surviving beyond six months by a shocking 40 percent.

The news ignited a heated debate in the healthcare community over the ethical and scientific implications of race-based medicine. The jury is now apparently back in. The CEO and the chief business officer at the company resigned abruptly on Monday. Reports indicate that sales--which were expected to reach around $850 million--were only $4.5 million. Executives blame insurers, who were slow to approve the treatment. Internal critics point at a lackluster sales effort.

- see this article from The New York Times