Pharmacotherapy on the Web

The Journal of Informed Pharmacotherapy 2002;8:500. 

HealthySkepticism.org, Health Protection Branch Drug Advisories

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HealthySkepticism.orgHealth Protection Branch Drug Advisories

Name of site:

HealthySkepticism.org

Type of site: Awareness site focusing on the influence of the Pharmaceutical industry on caregivers and the public.
Authoring organization: HealthySkepticism.org, formerly known as the Medical Lobby for Appropriate marketing (MaLAM)
Sponsors: Subscribers, WHO's Drug Action Program, several Australia/New Zealand medical organizations, Health Action International
Of particular interest to: Physicians, pharmacists, health policymakers, the general public.
Completeness Score (/5) 4 (several hyperlinks are dead)
Credibility Score (/5) 5
Usability Score (/5) 4
Why is it useful? (what will it help me DO?): This site is an excellent repository of stories published in the mainstream media concerning the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on prescribing practices and drug usage by the public.
Commentary: In addition to providing well-referenced general information to consumers and health care providers about the (negative) influences of drug marketing, promotion, and other activities of pharmaceutical companies, this site provides a quick way for interested readers to view articles from around the world from the lay-press (mainly newspapers) about this topic. The most complete information is in the "Special Reports" section. The site is up to date, with articles from January 2002 already posted for viewing.  There is an excellent collection of quotations as well.
URL of site: http://www.healthyskepticism.org
Reviewed by: Peter Loewen, Pharm.D.

Name of site:

Health Protection Branch Drug Advisories

Type of site: E-mail alert service 
Authoring organization: Canadian Government Health Protection Branch, Therapeutic Products Directorate (TPD)
Sponsors: as above
Of particular interest to: Pharmacotherapy practitioners in Canada
Completeness Score (/5) 4
Credibility Score (/5) 4.5
Usability Score (/5) 4
Why is it useful? (what will it help me DO?): Stay up to date via e-mail with the most serious drug-related safety concerns originating with the Health Protection Branch in Canada
Commentary: This site, which could be considered the Canadian counterpart to the FDA's MEDWATCH e-mail alert service, provides subscribers (free) with periodic advisories via e-mail on safety issues in Canada.  Only around 1 advisory per month is sent, so there seems to be little risk of e-mail overload by subscribing.

Of course, only the most serious drug-related issues make it to this level, so this is not a "digest" of adverse reactions.  Rather, it is essential reading for any drug therapy practitioner, since it is hardly acceptable to not even be aware of the advisories issued by the HPB.

Unfortunately, the e-mail message sent contains little useful information about the actual advisory which prompted it.  Instead, a link is provided which takes you to the HPB website where the latest advisories are listed.

URL of site: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hpb-dgps/therapeut/htmleng/advhp_e.html
Reviewed by: Peter Loewen, Pharm.D.

Copyright © 2002 by the Journal of Informed Pharmacotherapy. All rights reserved.