Sometimes consumer watchdog and whistleblowers do a good thing (actually they do it a lot).
Several Consumer Advocacy Groups have filed an action before the Federal Trade Commission: “Request for Investigation, Public Disclosure, Injunction, and Other Relief” against none other than:
Google, Microsoft, Quality Health, WebMD, Yahoo, AOL, Health Central, Health line, Everyday Health, and Other web companies, including a litany of consumer oriented marketing scams.
All physicians should be pleased that someone has done this for our patients and the medical profession.
The motion requests that the Food and Drug Administration investigate these sites
The plea includes as one portion of its plea the following,
Physicians, nurses and other health professionals are also the target of powerful digital marketing practices that have a direct effect on the health and financial costs born by consumers. The growth of online “e-detailing,” “e-samples,” and other digital ad practices designed to influence health professionals to order specific pharmaceuticals and treatments raises new concerns over the role of online advertising in the healthcare arena. Data collected via e-detailing and related methods also pose privacy concerns.
The FDA held two days of hearings in November 2009 on the role of the Internet and marketing for regulated drugs.6 Pharmaceutical marketers purposely painted a sanitized, storybook image of social media and digital marketing. Missing were data and information related to the powerful capabilities of interactive marketing to promote relationships with specific brands, including the ability to foster what has been called consumer “micro-persuasion.” “Direct-to-Consumer Digital Marketing” of pharmaceutical and health-related products requires the FTC to develop safeguards for sensitive-data-related advertising practices, and also ensure that interactive ad techniques are truthful and non-misleading.