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The US Food and Drug Administration began a partnership with the website Drugs.com to expand access to the agency's consumer-health information.
The US Food and Drug Administration began a partnership with the website Drugs.com to expand access to the agency’s consumer-health information. The collaboration is described in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that the two parties signed and that FDA published last week.
The MOU established a cooperative public-education program to provide consumers with timely information such as safety issues and product recalls. The program includes the creation of a joint resource on the Drugs.com site that includes FDA Consumer Update articles, videos, and slide shows. The partnership also will provide access to FDA health information on Drugs.com’s mobile-phone platform.
FDA’s website receives about 6 million visitors per month, most of whom are representatives of regulated industry, according to the MOU. The Consumer Health Information section of the agency’s site receives roughly 250,000 page views per month. In contrast, Drugs.com, which provides information to help patients manage their own healthcare, attracts more than 12 million unique visitors each month. The parties expect their public-education program to increase FDA’s capacity to disseminate time-sensitive public-health information.
“The FDA’s partnership with Drugs.com means that reliable, useful, and timely health information will be available to an even wider audience,” said Beth Martino, FDA’s associate commissioner for external affairs, in an agency press release. “Partnerships like this are an important part of the FDA’s effort to ensure the public has easy access to reliable, useful information that can help people protect and improve their health.”
“We are very excited about partnering with the FDA to provide consumers with public-health and safety information on our site as well as our mobile-phone platform,” said Philip Thornton, CEO of Drugs.com, in the press release.
At least every two months, Drugs.com will provide a report to FDA about the number of users visiting the joint website and its individual contents. Both parties will review the data to evaluate the effectiveness of the collaboration and to modify it if necessary. The MOU will remain effective until October 2012.