Are Online Healthcare Consumers Empowered Or Imperiled?

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  • 01/08/2008
You can be the judge and become a better consumer of online health care information after reading our report. Much of what passes for "information" is propaganda placed by trial attorneys, so-called public interest groups and alternative health sites to steer people away from taking certain drugs, making them feel they should sue if they did take them or replace them with things that are expensive because they are natural. In specific cases, which we provide, the information on the Web has contributed to a decline in public health and death.

The Web has become an organizing tool for those seeking to politicize science. Ironically, for all the concern about DTC the biggest and most dangerous source of disinformation is often provided by organizations that are the biggest critics of drug ads. When, for example, will Public Citizen and Consumers Reports do the responsible thing and take down all the inaccurate links to their sites about statins and liver damage? When will these organizations stop associating with the same trial attorneys that front load the Web with sites that scare people about the risks of drugs relative to their benefits?

Misinformation and disinformation regarding health issues could be a huge public health problem in the years ahead. We hope this study gives people an insight into how big and a common sense way of how to solve it: consider the source and consult your doctor before taking action.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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