The Cycle

Medpedia launches online health encyclopedia

Medpedia, an anticipated online health encyclopedia, launched this week. Much like Wikipedia, the site is free although Medpedia is edited and written by pre-screened health professionals only.

James Currier, founder of the project, told The New York Times that medicine is one of the least developed areas on the Web but has the chance to be the most transformed by it.

Mark Senak at Eye on FDA notes: “In time, with the right search engine optimization, Medpedia topics will be very high up on the Google search when a person enters in a specific drug name.  When given a choice of learning about the drug from (1) the manufacturer or (2) an objective third party source representing the finest medical schools in the country, patients and physicians are likely to gravitate to the objective resource.”

For drug companies and device makers, the wiki will present its own challenges. Senak says that, for example, pharmaceutical companies who not to get involved will find that their brands are shaped by the medical professionals who edit the companies’ drug and device information. He writes:

“[Medpedia] signifies another leap in the reality and reach of digital media while regulatory bodies around the world continue to pretend like nothing is happening. That leads to the second, which is that brand control, for companies not anticipating, analyzing and strategically responding to digital media developments, is becoming more and more elusive as the brand becomes shaped by digital media participants.”

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