Laura Landro has an article on how the web empowers patients. I am not so sure. Unless companies, academics, and other responsible third parties take great pains to roll out solid material, most of the space is taken up by misfits,manipulators and opportunistic feeders as Jay Byrne of V-influence describes them who engage in client shopping, fearmongering and peddling of alternative health solutions. The worst offenders: Consumers Union with their blog campaigns that scare people into noncompliance and hidden campaign to fatten the pocketbooks of trial attorneys, Joseph Mercola and his numerous snake oil solutions and well...the tort sharks themselves who hire firms to set up fake "consumer health site" that offer crappy health info but really collect data that they use to fill the FDA with questionable adverse drug events.
I linked to Jacob Goldstein's blog...one of the more reasonable sourceshttp://blogs.wsj.com/health/2007/06/13/in-a-switch-online-patient-groups-inform-researchers/
So if we shut down the right of drug companies to advertise then we will be left with all this responsible behavior AND Michael Moore.