Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Disease Coalitions

In order to assure I avoid any potential for legal action against this blog, I will follow pre-specified rules for web-linking imposed by a particular disease coalition's sponsor that must be carefully followed... or else. Therefore, I will BOLD and HIGHLIGHT portions of this post that comply with these rules.

I don't watch TV much, but was invited to watch the double-episode of Fox's Hell's Kitchen with my son last evening. (Not that there would be any resemblance to my kitchen, mind you, but I guess if you like to watch lots of people smoke and swear and behave badly to each other in the name of cooking, then it's perfectly fun entertainment.)

Somewhere during the show, I was most struck by a commercial were two actors were in deep, staged conversation: one as a purported radio station deejay, and the other a very sincere doctor discussing how people with P.A.D. where twice as likely to die of heart attack or stroke. "Just another drug ad," I thought. "I wonder which drug company's spending this kind of money?"

So I waited until the end to see which company logo would appear, but instead, saw none. Instead, the name of a "coalition" appeared very briefly: The PAD Coalition, a subsidiary of The Vascular Disease Foundation. The Vascular Disease Foundation is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to help reduce disability and death from vascular disease that also sponsors the Venous Disease Coalition. The Vascular Disease Foundation is committed to improving health for all by reducing death and disability from vascular disease.

What a great idea!

I'm sure we'll be seeing coalitions in support of the heartbreak of psoriasis or scourge of acne any minute!

But, sorry, there are other rules that must be followed in the interest of teaching people about these entitites:
The Organization does not allow other Web sites to copy and reuse information or material(s) from its Web site unless otherwise permitted by a separate written agreement.
So much for sharing. Sheesh.

Glad to know that Abbott, AstraSeneca, Bard Peripheral Vascular, Summit Doppler, Gore, Biomedics Vascular Solutions, BristolMyersSquibb, ev3 and so many others are so careful about what's said about P.A.D. that they can violate the The Vascular Disease Foundation's own "two click rule" that stipulates:
Any link from VDF’s Web site to an external Web site must abide by a two-click rule. This means that the first link goes to a "jump page" that explains the relationship between VDF and the other party.
But then again, the "two-click rule" permits "one-click" from their site in certain circumstances:
A link to the external Web site can be placed on this jump page (editor's note: the jump page seems to be the PAD Coalition website's home page); however, it must land on a general homepage, not a page that includes information about specific products or services.
So don't worry, rest assured these companies have no vested interest in making sure you know all about P.A.D. and it's relation to heart disease and stroke. They are unbiased, independent and have no interest in capturing more patients to use their medications and products but rather want you to know about these diseases just for your health and well-being.

... all without having to broach the unseemly topics like the costs of the screening procedures nor the risks of contrast nephropathy and peripheral artery interventional procedures.



Allen said...

This will be the easiest coalition to avoid: I'll just not link them.

The corporate-control dripping off these folks is amazing.

Christian Sinclair said...

Oh man that was rich! Thanks for posting the absurdity of the web. it is nice to know there is some humor in medicine and web programming. I would have loved to have been at the meeting where these guidelines were formed. Could it be that any of this is an overreading of the FDA's social media regs? kind of like how people ascribe way to much power to HIPAA.

Thanks for the laugh!

The Happy Hospitalist said...

Those rules are crazy. They have no control over how you or I link to their site. If they want to control their content, fine. If they don't want people linking to their website, don't set up a website.

Andrew_M_Garland said...

They say: "Any link from VDF’s Web site to an external Web site must ..."

Is this requirement aimed at their own site programmers?

There is no way to place a link onto their website that I can think of, unless it is by a programmer with access to their server files.