Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Medscape News: Diseases for Sale
If you're a physician, you know Medscape. A division of that internet health care behemoth, WebMD, Medscape pounds our inboxes daily with offers of free CME. Much of the CME is industry-sponsored, which is not exactly a news item for most of us. But what you may not be aware of is that Medscape sells its disease-specific "resource centers" to the highest bidder. For example, the ADHD Resource Center is purchased by Shire, the Bipolar Disorder Resource Center is owned by GlaxoSmithKline, and the Pharmacological Management of Pain Resource Center is now the property of Cephalon.
How much do companies pay in order to take control of what doctors learn? Good luck extracting this information from Medscape, but rumor has it that about $500,000 gets you a sort of "base package" which includes four articles. The sponsoring company gets to specify the topics and the authors, of course. There is a menu of extras, so if you really want to saturate the medical mind with your marketing message, you can presumably part with well over a million. And this doesn't include income from the advertising banners that appear to populate each and every web page on the site.
Yes, doctors know Medscape. And Medscape knows money.