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A Screenful of Sugar? – Prescription Drug Websites Investigated

Screenful of Sugar, Lewis Glinert In their new book, A Screenful of Sugar? – Prescription Drug Websites Investigated, Dartmouth College linguistics professor Lewis Glinert and Jon Schommer, professor of pharmaceutical care and health systems at the University of Minnesota, have joined forces to investigate the state of online prescription drug information.

This is the first critical profile of the chief sites where people are looking to learn about prescription drugs.

This book offers insight into the uncharted waters of prescription drug information and promotion on the Internet — and suggests how it might be transformed into an unprecedented agent for good.

We address a wide audience:  health care professionals, media and marketing, policy makers, and the general public – because (almost) all of us take a medicine at some point in our lives and try to read something about it.

A Screenful of Sugar? traces the social and political history of prescription drug information and marketing to Western consumers, offers a social and communicative profile of prescription drug web sites, and evaluates the most widely used sources of prescription drug information:

government organizations
information companies and TV-related sites
health service provider sites
brand sites
social media, including YouTube and Wikipedia

Many physicians, pharmacists and other health care providers will be surprised and disturbed to learn what the public is reading about medications on the Internet. Pharma brand managers are wrapping their promotions in education and friending you on Facebook.  The FDA is in a state of denial.

Nonetheless, the Web also brings dazzling new possibilities for the untold millions of elderly and less literate in the US and around the globe to receive the kind of drug information that they have always been denied — except that no one has yet done the work on how to provide it.

A Screenful of Sugar?  Has two very practical goals:

(1) A robust and provocative critique of Government and Industry for the present state of corporate and nonprofit drug information on the Web

(2) A practical guide to health educators and consumers for confronting the realities of drug information and promotion on the Web.