Can We Trust WebMD???

WebMD is the second most visited health website on the net next to the National Institutes of Health. The major question that needs to be addressed is;  “Is it a truly independent and objective online health information resource”?

Like many web sites, WebMD’s main source of income and information comes from advertisements that appear on the site. An online depression screening test advertised in a WebMD TV commercial was surprisingly sponsored by drug company Eli Lilly which directed its viewers to Lilly’s antidepressant Cymbalta.

Although the tests are openly sponsored by Eli Lilly we need to be concerned that many people would automatically assume that this publicized test offered on one of the most visited health sites on the web would give them an entirely false result. This could give the appearance of pushing even the most well-balanced individual into considering taking an antidepressant based on these false test results. There is a fine line between using authority for one’s health and misleading for the purpose of financial gain.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th Edition (DSM-IV) is a manual published by the American Psychiatric Association and covers all mental health disorders for both children and adults. DSIM-IV provides the basis for psychiatric diagnoses and lists nine possible symptoms of depression.

WebMD’s depression screening test lists 10 – the last one being “frequent headaches, stomach problems, muscle pain, or back problems” which have mysteriously appeared out of… how knows where?

Cymbalta is marketed as an antidepressant that treats both depression and physical pain. In effect, the WebMD depression screening test is a “Try Cymbalta Test.”

Promoting Wealth Instead of Health

As you can see by the online depression screening test, big pharmaceutical companies wield their influence on WebMD and other sites in promoting their specific patented drugs. These sites give you the illusion of an independent, objective third party that conveniently promotes drugs as the best answer to your health issues. Keep in mind it is illegal for anything other than a drug to lay claim to treat or cure any type of condition.

Eli Lilly was one of WebMD’s original partners and investors, along with Microsoft, DuPont, News Corp, and Silicon Graphics. WebMD is also the first private company to become a partner of the FDA. For every ailment that WebMD presents, you get the corresponding pharmaceutical option that the FDA wants you to take. You will be hard pressed to ever see an alternative treatment being recommended or even a positive mention of it on their site. Therefore safe, inexpensive alternatives and strategies that can help improve your health are ignored.

Is it possible for WebMD to be independent and objective if one of its investors is a major drug company and there’s government influence exerted?

I personally have my opinion which I’m sure you’re aware of, but will let you draw your own conclusion. It is a shame that for all those who rely on WebMD to give them the best Optimal Health Choice only to find out that it may not be in their best health interest.

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2 Responses

  1. I found your article quite interesting and would be interesting in speaking on the topic if you have a second to drop me an e-mail.

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