Race is often used in medicine to evaluate symptoms, make diagnoses, and decide on a course of care. These systems of evaluation are often inaccurate representations of reality, based on stereotypes.
For example, minorities are much less likely to be prescribed pain medication based on these kinds of preconceived notions about race. This type of race-based medicine has a way of blinding doctors to other more important factors such as an individual’s family or social history, symptoms, or related illnesses.
In some cases, drugs that were designed without race as a consideration have been marketed towards a specific race for reasons related to profitability.
Additionally, some diagnostic tools are linked directly to pre-Civil War ideas about race. Still used today, these tools measure lung capacity differently for each patient depending on their race.
In the above video Dorothy Roberts, social justice advocate, and law scholar goes into further detail about why race-based medicine is bad medicine.
Sources: TED Ideas Worth Spreading