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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 6839

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: Journal Article

Armstrong K, Schwartz JS, Asch DA.
Direct sale of sildenafil (Viagra) to consumers over the Internet.
N Engl J Med 1999 Oct 28; 341:(18):1389-92


The authors conducted a systematic search of the World Wide Web to identify all sites that were selling sildenafil directly to consumers and analyzed information on the sites as to the geographic origin of the Web site, the cost of the service and the drug, and whether it provided information about sildenafil, requested information from consumers, provided disclaimers and warnings and required a medical consultation (review of information about medical history by a physician).

*analytic survey/United States/Viagra/Internet/quality of information/safety & risk information/EVALUATION OF PROMOTION: DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER ADVERTISING/PROMOTIONAL TECHNIQUES: INTERNET ADVERTISING 3',5'-Cyclic-GMP Phosphodiesterase/antagonists & inhibitors* Commerce/standards Commerce/statistics & numerical data* Humans Impotence/diagnosis Impotence/drug therapy* Internet/standards Internet/statistics & numerical data* Male Medical History Taking/statistics & numerical data Office Visits Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors* Physician's Practice Patterns/statistics & numerical data Piperazines* Prescriptions, Drug/standards Prescriptions, Drug/statistics & numerical data* Questionnaires Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S. United States


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Far too large a section of the treatment of disease is to-day controlled by the big manufacturing pharmacists, who have enslaved us in a plausible pseudo-science...
The blind faith which some men have in medicines illustrates too often the greatest of all human capacities - the capacity for self deception...
Some one will say, Is this all your science has to tell us? Is this the outcome of decades of good clinical work, of patient study of the disease, of anxious trial in such good faith of so many drugs? Give us back the childlike trust of the fathers in antimony and in the lancet rather than this cold nihilism. Not at all! Let us accept the truth, however unpleasant it may be, and with the death rate staring us in the face, let us not be deceived with vain fancies...
we need a stern, iconoclastic spirit which leads, not to nihilism, but to an active skepticism - not the passive skepticism, born of despair, but the active skepticism born of a knowledge that recognizes its limitations and knows full well that only in this attitude of mind can true progress be made.
- William Osler 1909