About a month ago I got an email that I just got around to reading today. Essentially it was someone announcing a new social network for prescription drug consumers. Here’s a part of the release that I was sent about the prescription drug social network:
I’d like to invite you to try out the eDrugSearch.com Community — a brand new social network for prescription drug consumers. To join, just go to www.edrugsearch.com/register and sign up; it takes only a couple of minutes.
Why a social network for drug consumers? At eDrugSearch.com, we believe that online communities will forever change the face of healthcare — by giving consumers the information and resources they need to ask better questions of caregivers, to support one another, and to save money on treatments and medications.
Prescription drug consumers, in particular, have shown a strong interest in social networks on general health sites, indicating an unmet demand for a niche community. U.S. drug consumers relish the opportunity to share their experiences — their discoveries, their frustrations, their solutions. These Americans are turning to each other rather than relying solely on pharmaceutical company advertising or rushed doctor’s appointments.
We want the eDrugSearch.com Community to be a place you can come for help, reassurance and advice.
Of course, this really begs the question of if we need a social network around prescription drugs. Of course, my gut reaction is that prescription drugs sounds like much to small of a category for a social network. I’m certain that a lot of niche social networks are going to do very well (in fact, I’m working on a sports one myself), but can prescription drug consumers support a social network.
Seriously, when I’m taking prescription drugs I want to get off them as soon as possible. Are people going to just visit the site for entertainment. Certainly there are people who have chronic illnesses that take drugs for a long time, but won’t they stop visiting the site after taking the same drug for so many years? I guess maybe they’re hoping for advancements or alternatives to that drug, but that still feels like a stretch.
The other part of me thinks that something like this might work. I’ve always felt like one of the advantages of my job is that I had access to not only a bunch of doctors, nurse practioners and PAs, but I also support a pharmacy. In the past three years, there have been a number of times where I make the rounds of doctors, APNs and the pharmacist to learn about the drugs that were prescribed to myself or my family. To me this illustrates the need for information that people have when they are prescribed a drug.
Of course, the biggest challenge of this all is can you trust the information that this prescription drug social network provides? How do you know when someone is qualified in the area or not? Not to mention I could see the drug companies really abusing this site with false information. I think we all have been to hotel sites where the ratings just sounded too good to be true. Sounds pretty easy for the drug companies to do the same thing.
Now, if they had a way to certify providers (MD, DO, APN, PA), then you could give some credibility to what was being said. In fact, a social network for these providers to discuss the various drugs is something that could be very strong and useful. That sounds pretty Health 2.0 to me.