Navigation Links
Linguistics professor examines manufacturers' prescription drug websites

Dartmouth Linguistics Professor Lewis Glinert and Jon Schommer, the associate head of the Department of Pharmaceutical Care and Health Systems at the University of Minnesota, have examined the corporate websites dedicated to the 100 best-selling prescription drugs. They found a startling lack of consistency in an industry where advertising standards are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

"Communicating via a website is common practice today," says Glinert, "and consumers are very savvy about doing their own research on the Internet. The FDA has rules about direct-to-consumer print and television drug advertising, so we think it makes sense to also regulate websites and other marketing tools when it comes to prescription medicine. Consumers need consistent and balanced information."

Glinert presented their study, "Manufacturers' prescription drug web sites: A gray area of discourse and ethics," at the Communication, Medicine and Ethics (COMET) 2010 Conference at Boston University School of Public Health on June 28. Glinert and Schommer have previously published on the topic of direct-to-consumer drug advertising and Glinert has also presented their research at an FDA hearing.

In this paper, Glinert and Schommer found that the websites:

  • have no obvious linear narrative or 'next page' or conclusion; users move in a maze of text and navigation choices, some leading far away
  • lack a popular genre name (like infomercial), meaning that users come to them without a clear idea of how to perceive them
  • have an unpredictable mix of information and promotion, content, verbal style, visuals, and layout
  • often present safety and risk information in small font, in cumbersome un-bulleted blocks of text, detached from promotional text and videos, and below a page's scrolling 'fold'

Glinert notes that the Internet search engine Google has also been working to help consumers with their research on prescription drugs. A Google search of a prescription or generic drug name, for example Lipitor, will now display a summary and description at the top of the search results. The new feature, developed in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, links to NIH content and risk data. (Background information at: and )

"Our research provides justification for Google's move," says Glinert. "Only time will tell if this is a major change for the better."


Contact: Sue Knapp
Dartmouth College

Related medicine news :

1. Genetic data added to archaeology and linguistics to get picture of African population history
2. NJIT professor heads panel studying sudden car acceleration
3. "How Facebook Makes Lonely People Even Lonelier" Revealed by Distinguished University of Chicago Professor in Interview with Brian Vaszily on
4. Sales are on the Rise for Professor McMurphy's Subliminal and Binaural Visualization iPhone Apps
5. Evidence-based medicine theory can be applied to frequent flying says US professor
6. Unequal leg length tied to osteoarthritis, says Queens professor
7. Decreasing health-care costs is focus of new informatics book by NJIT professor
8. K-State professor finds link between low oxygen levels in body and cancer-aiding protein
9. Genealogical tourism redefining leisure travel market, professor says
10. ISSA Congratulates Seminar Professor John Schaeffer
11. Biology professor becomes 5th at UH to reach prestigious AAAS status
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... “While riding the bus, I ... Bronx, N.Y. “I thought there had to be a convenient and comfortable way to ... The PROTECTOR enables disabled individuals to safely travel during cold or inclement weather. In ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... (PHA) announces the nation’s Periwinkle Pioneers, individuals and groups responsible for advancing care ... disease. The Periwinkle Pioneers, nominated by the public, will receive special recognition throughout ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... philanthropic seniors, is resulting in a way for homeless people to have a ... have launched a new initiative whereby they are repurposing plastic bags into sleeping ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Since its launch in 2012, ... adult stem cell therapies to patients with chronic degenerative medical conditions. Now, the ... Registered Trademark (RTM). , Organizations are required to hold a registered trademark in ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Genesis Chiropractic Software ... software creates an agreement between the practice owner and the patient that automatically ... notification, and projections. Click here to learn more. , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... FRANCISCO , Nov. 24, 2015  Thanks to ... Dignity Health St. Mary,s Medical Center,s Sister Diane Grassilli ... breast imaging capabilities in San Francisco ... an anonymous friend, stepped forward with a gift of ... for Breast Digital Mammography with Tomosynthesis and Whole Breast ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Colo. , Nov. 24, 2015  Array ... that its Chief Executive Officer, Ron Squarer ... Healthcare Conference in New York.  The public is ... webcast on the Array BioPharma website.Event:Piper Jaffray Annual ... , Wednesday, December 2, 2015Time:1:30 p.m. Eastern Time ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... HOUSTON, TX and VANCOUVER, Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... EPI; NASDAQ: EPIX ) announced today that the ... clinical study of EPI-506 as a treatment for metastatic ... States and Canada.  --> ... --> In the Phase 1/2 clinical trial, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: