The New York Times today featured an article about growing online communities for the drug and medical device makers employees and sales reps (via bookofjoe), such as CafePharma. How does this intersect with e-patients and helping them learn more about treatment issues for their conditions?
Well, online communities like CafePharma give ordinary people a glimpse behind the curtain of the pharmaceutical and drug world. Instead of “feel good” commercials toting the benefits of a given medication, you get to see, first-hand, how the underbelly of the industry works — how sales reps are encouraged to push newer meds over older ones, the sales tactics they use in doctors’ offices, and internal communications that companies like Pfizer probably would prefer you not be privy to.
While full of the usual venting and rants you’d expect from people who can be anonymous in a place to complain about their employer, there are enough tidbits of information that can turn following such a community from “gossip-mongering” to becoming an informed consumer and e-patient, one who is more savvy about how the industry works.