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Shep

Google and WebMD Partner To Be Your Virtual Doctor

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Shep

Google and WebMD Partner To Be Your Virtual Doctor

March 06, 2018

 

Some excerpts of the article related to depression and antidepressants:

 

Virtual Doctoring Is All the Rage

In recent years, the internet and medicine have become increasingly intertwined, giving rise to "virtual medicine" and rampant self-diagnosing — a trend that largely favors drugs and costly, invasive treatments. Here are just a sampling of developments aimed at connecting consumers with various medical products:

 

Google has partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), launching a depression self-assessment quiz which, like WebMD before it, funnels querents toward antidepressant drugs.10,11 Now, any time you use the search term "depression symptoms" in the Google search engine, you will find links to pages that purportedly help you "check if you're clinically depressed" through self-tests or quizzes.

 

While it may seem altruistic to raise awareness about mental illness, the "stop the stigma" campaign is actually funded and driven by the drug industry itself, under the guise of various front groups, of which NAMI is one. Nearly 75 percent of the organization's funding comes from drug companies.12

 

According to PsychCentral, evidence also shows that drug companies have instructed NAMI to "resist state efforts to limit access to mental health drugs" and "how to advocate forcefully for issues that affect industry profits."13

Google and other tech startups are investigating the possibility of assessing mental health problems using a combination of electronic medical records and tracking your internet and social media use.

 

WebMD Caught Creating Fraudulent Health Screen

It's worth remembering that WebMD has already come under fire over conflicts of interest, and in 2010 was caught providing users with a fake depression screening test. The test — in which 100 percent of quiz-takers ended up having a "high likelihood of major depression" and were directed to talk to their doctor about treatment19,20 — was sponsored by drug giant Eli Lilly, the maker of Cymbalta.

 

The quiz was really direct-to-consumer advertising masquerading as a valid health screen, and this is perhaps the most hazardous kind of drug advertising there is. Seeing an ad on TV or in a magazine is one thing — you can recognize that as marketing. But a test on a well-respected health site? Few would consider that such a test might be rigged, which is probably why it was done in the first place. With the tobacco industry now at the helm, I doubt WebMD's peddling of paid advertising as educational information will improve any.

 

WebMD is a great example of the brilliant marketing the drug companies are doing. The site appears to be an independent objective third party, but when you draw back the curtain, you find it's really the drug companies that are crafting the message and the recommendations.

 

It's also worth noting that WebMD is partnered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which virtually assures you will not learn about alternatives besides those approved by the FDA for your condition. This partnership further strengthens the promotion of sponsored drugs, and, by default, you will be kept in the dark about strategies that can make a real and lasting difference, and often cost very little or nothing.

 

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peng

Useful post, Shep - thank you.

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GentleSteps
15 hours ago, Shep said:

This partnership further strengthens the promotion of sponsored drugs, and, by default, you will be kept in the dark about strategies that can make a real and lasting difference, and often cost very little or nothing.

Thank you for this very useful expose, Shep.

 

To "often cost very little or nothing" I would add: and which strategies do not enslave you to dependence-inducing psychotropic drugs and hence to having to see and pay, and be subjected to the views of, psychiatrists or other prescribers, often for years or (as the doctors like to tell patients) for life.  

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Shep

Peng and GentleSteps, thanks for your posts - yes, I think this kind of information is very helpful and people need to know that what they are searching for on the internet may be biased information and could lead them to great harm. 

 

And to take it a step further, the former head of NIMH, Dr. Thomas Insel, is now watching you closely:

 

The Atlantic - The Smartphone Psychiatrist

 

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