In the era of WebMD and Google Health, 80 percent of American Internet users turn to the Web for answers about health and medical treatment, from concerns about symptoms to worries about new drugs to advice on creating a healthier lifestyle. However, the popularity of online health sources doesn’t mean that what we find on the Internet is accurate or complete. Quite the opposite, argues health policy expert Dr. Robert Goldberg in his new book, Tabloid Medicine: How the Internet is Being Used to Hijack Medical Science for Fear and Profit.
Through five case studies and numerous examples, he shows that many health websites are created by people with ulterior motives, from alternative medicine advocates and trial attorneys to anti-industry organizations and grandstanding politicians, many of whom seek to promote fear rather than knowledge. The Internet also allows those without medical credentials, whether self-aggrandizing ‘instant experts’ or ordinary citizens who are well-intentioned but ill-informed, to scare or mislead millions with the click of a mouse.
Tabloid Medicine has had dangerous consequences for not just individual health but also public health. Importantly, Dr. Goldberg provides the reader with a how to guide for separating fearmongering from scientific fact and one size fits all solutions that are spread widely on the Web from the tools that allow consumers to personalize their search for medical information. He also shows how the Internet is also a powerful platform for sharing ideas and information that is being used to accelerate the search for cures and give consumers more control over their well-being.
Dr. Goldberg is co-founder and Vice-President of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, a non-profit institute dedicated to promoting the use and understanding of technologies that make health care more predictive and personalized, and appears frequently in the press as a writer and commentator.
Over the past 20 years Dr. Goldberg has dedicated himself to improving the health ofAmericans and promoting medical innovation. He was involved in the first study demonstrating that restrictions on access to drugs actually drove up medical spending and compromised health. That research was instrumental in forcing health plans to open up drug formularies. He helped The Children’s Health Fund establish it’s Childhood Asthma Initiative in the South Bronx to improve the management of chronic asthma for thousands of medically underserved children and families. His article on how environmental laws would deprive millions of Americans generic asthma inhalers led the government to drop it’s effort to eliminate the insignificant amount of CFC from such products.
Prior to founding CMPI, Goldberg was Director of the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Medical Progress and Chairman of its 21st Century FDA Task Force that examined the impact of the FDA’s Critical Path Initiative on drug development and personalized medicine. His academic research focuses on the value of personalized medicine and medical innovation to longevity, economic growth and Social Security. At CMPI he’s supported the launch of Iguard.org, a website that helps two million people monitor the safety of their medicines and DestinationRx.com, a website where seniors and other consumers can compare drug prices and lower prescription drug costs. He writes for The Weekly Standard, The American Spectator and The New York Post.
Dr. Goldberg received his PhD in Politics from Brandeis University in 1984. He lives in Springfield, New Jersey and can be found online at http://www.tabloidmedicine.com
–Caroline PattonView all authors