The non conformer's Canadian Weblog

February 23, 2011

Any wise person will check the prescribed medication on the net. I do!

Any wise person will check the prescribed medication on the net. I do!

VANCOUVER — Look up Lipitor online in the United States and the first Google result outside of the ads will take you to the government-run National Library of Medicine’s information on the drug.


Google Lipitor in Canada and you’ll find yourself at, a website run by the drug’s maker, Pfizer.


The same thing happens to Canadians who search for any generic or brand-name prescription drug on the Internet — they get either industry-sponsored sites or an Internet-user-generated Wikipedia entry.


By comparison, thanks to a partnership drawn up last year between Google and the National Institutes of Health, Americans find solid information on the NIH websites that top their search results.


The wide discrepancy in U.S. and Canadian search results could lead to serious health problems for Canadians, say University of B.C. researchers who authored a study on the issue published this week by the Annals of Pharmacotherapy.

 “If people aren’t getting good information about drugs with serious side-effects, I think there could be a potential problem,” said Michael Law, lead author of the study and an assistant professor at the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research at UBC.


Law said the U.S. has recognized the importance of providing consumers with independent information through the Google-NIH partnership that provides searchers with National Library of Medicine information.


“In the United States quite clearly they have seen this as an important thing,” he said, adding he’d like Canada to take similar steps.


“I think it would be good practice for people who regulate drug information in Canada to get unbiased information in front of patients,” he said. “There is no doubt people are looking up drugs online.


“I think that might be a good idea to try and make sure when Canadians look online they get objective and evidence-based information.”

Law said previous research has found significant problems with manufacturer-sponsored sites and the user-generated Wikipedia, meaning that the top search results Canadians get could include less-than-reliable information.

“In a study a few years ago that looked at the content of industry-sponsored sites, a third of the time the sites didn’t list a major adverse event.”

A spokesman for Health Canada said he would follow up Thursday on questions raised by the Vancouver Sun regarding the study.

Read more: 


I rightfully do not trust anyone to do what is right… not even the nurses, doctors, pharmaceutical firms.



Blog at

%d bloggers like this: