Patients should no even think of using Facebook for health

  • Facebook’s leaders seriously discussed selling access to user data — and privacy was an afterthought.
  • Mark Zuckerberg oversaw plans to consolidate the social network’s power and control competitors by treating its users’ data as a bargaining chip, while publicly proclaiming to be protecting that data.
  • Facebook ultimately decided not to sell the data directly but rather to dole it out to app developers who were considered personal “friends” of Zuckerberg or who spent money on Facebook and shared their own valuable data.
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Facebook has a ton of false or misleading health information

  • Three quarters of health information on Facebook was either misleading or included some false information. Only three were considered “highly credible.” Some lacked context of the issue, exaggerated the harms of a potential threat, or overstated research findings.
  • Many articles never back claims with links to original sources or research studies to support findings.
  • In terms of overall credibility, slightly less than half, of posts, achieved a high credibility rating. However, highly rated articles received 11 million shares, while poorly rated articles had roughly 8.5 million shares.
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Media irresponsibility

KEY TAKEAWAY: There is nothing worse than promising very sick or dying patients with false hope of a “miracle cure”. Yet, Forbes and other media outlets, like The Hill, have spread the story about a small team of Israeli scientists who are telling the world they will have the first “complete cure” for cancer within a year. And not only that, but they claim it will be brief, cheap and effective and will have no or minimal side-effects. This company is another Theranos?

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The healthcare debate the media refuses to acknowledge

  • Drug prices continue to fuel media stories and drive politicians to action but, for the most part, the real driver of high healthcare costs is being ignored.
  • The total percentage of non-elderly people with insurance and affordability problems to 26.2%.
  • The number of US adults with diabetes increased from 21.2 million in 2003-2004 to 30.2 million in 2013-2014, while the prevalence of obesity rose from 31.7% to 37.5% over the same period.
  • Millennials are on track to be the most obese generation.
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About that DTC study on drug pricing…

  • A new study measured the results of including drug prices in DTC ads.
  • For the high-priced drug, the price disclosure significantly reduced the likelihood of participants asking their physician about the drug, asking their insurer about the drug, researching the drug online, and taking the drug.
  • However, results were significantly mitigated when a modifier was included about out-of-pocket costs.
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Fake medical news threatens our lives

  • While misinformation has been the object of great attention in politics, medical misinformation might have an even greater body count.
  • False medical information can also lead to patients’ experiencing greater side effects through the “nocebo effect.”
  • Cancer is another big target for pushers of medical misinformation — many of whom are making money off alternative therapies.
  • Fake news represents a huge opportunity for pharma to lead the conversation.
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