Saturday, July 31, 2010

Should Pharmaceutical Companies be Required by Law to Provide Information About Their Products Online?

In my more than two years of writing reviews of different products I have observed that majority of the online advertisers have health related niches. Many of them are sites that publish information about their products. From the point of view of SEO marketing, the advertising they do helps more people have access on the information they want to disseminate to the people who search for their product using major search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing.

This is very important especially for new products which have been recently discovered or formulated like new medicines, drugs and even natural weight loss pills, because people who hear about them or those whom they are targeting as potential consumers need to find lots of information about the product they will use especially from its manufacturers.

But, I have noticed that most of the initiative to make information available through the internet come from outside the country. I have encountered only a few local advertisers who have done this and this can cause problems for our consumers when companies do not have enough information available online about their product, especially the information from the new product’s makers.

There has been a case here in the Philippines where a medicine called Saridon, an affordable pain killer that is well known in Visayas and Mindanao. If you would search about Saridon in major search engines you would hardly find information about it from its product makers. This poses a problem because there have been warnings about Saridon from various newspaper columnists saying that Saridon is unsafe citing its previous formula containing phenacetin and its new formulation has propyphenazone that can have negative side-effects by those who take it .

So, the question is, what should the government or the Department of Health do about it? Should a law or a policy be made to require makers of different pharmaceutical products to make information about their product available online, whether through their official website or through micro sites like Facebook pages or the like? What would you suggest about this issue?