Is WebMD a Trustworthy Source for Obtaining Sound Medical Advice?
WebMD is accessed millions of times every month of every
year. With so many people seeking medical advice, it is clear they’ve got a
good thing going on with their traffic and income. However, remember that
sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know - and that certainly seems to
pertain in this case.
There is a clear and precise conflict of interest (scam) at work behind the scenes. (NASDAQ: WBMD) has many corporate ‘sponsors’ which include drug, junk food, and biotech companies that could care less about your health. What they do care about is their bottom line, which means their profit outweighs truthful advice. WebMD answers first and foremost to its shareholders.
Most people looking for health information do not realize they’re being scammed. They expect the site to be non-biased and transparent – but it’s quite clear that WebMD is a shill, influencing and promoting corporate-backed health products and strategies. The techniques used are smooth and passive, where advertisements look more like content or editorials than advertising.
Big Pharma’s influence is quite evident on their site and is extremely hard to miss. Their tactics are blatantly obvious to those of us who are aware of their slimy past. Big Pharma wants to sell you drugs, whether you really need them or not. This became obvious to Dr. Mercola when he wrote about WebMD’s free online ‘depression test’. It was rigged in such a way that no matter how you responded to the question, the only answer you could receive was that ‘you were at risk’ and needed to discuss available options with your doctor. The fake test was sponsored by Eli Lilly – the maker of Cymbalta. (an antidepressant)
WebMD Gives the Illusion of Independent Collusion
Junk food, drug, and biotech industries have enormous amounts of money which is why you’ll find their advertisements splattered all over the site. No matter what your health issue is, you’ll find adverts for these industries on every article you access. Prescription drugs are listed/mentioned on virtually every page - along with plenty of health-hazardous processed foods — and plenty of Monsanto's assurances about GMO safety. The entire site is a great example of the brilliant marketing strategies these industries will use.
While the information they present may seem quite relevant, there’s something sinister about the way the site is set up. You get the illusion of an independent objective party – that always just so happens to agree with the solution presented. What you don’t see is that these companies are the ones crafting the message – and not an independent party that lists the pros and cons – detailing both sides of the issue at hand.
Of course, the lack of an independent party or any transparency has become a giant concern for distributors of health information. In the past few years, scientific fraud has risen to new heights, (think Kevin Folta
) which means you’ll have to do your own independent research if you want to hear both sides of the story. Millions of people are harmed every year taking big pharma’s poisons, but you won’t find any of that information on WebMD. What you do find is a company that’s gone out of its way to promote a very unhealthy lifestyle, riddled with junk foods, drugs, and GMOS
Moreover, if you read about any industry studies conducted, you are 400 times more likely to find a positive outcome. Negative findings and raw data are simply omitted by choice. You are only given the information they want you to see, while keeping studies that showed unfavorable outcomes hidden. Their propaganda is blatantly obvious if you read between the lines.
There are many questionable relationships that co-exist on the site. These so called 'independent health advisors’ are working behind the scenes, creating the next generation that will become addicted to drugs and/or junk foods. Big food, big pharma, and even regulatory agencies such as the FDA are all major players - and at WebMD, they aim to keep it that way!
The History of WebMD’s Conflicts of Interest
Did you know that the site receives monies from the federal government? In 2013, they received a contract from the government for $4.8 million – to educate doctors about the ‘Affordable Care Act’ and stimulate drug sales. Of course, this information was never disclosed - avid readers are consistently kept in the dark.
As stated by Michael Minkoff, writer:
"If WebMD is comfortable selling out to the drug companies, I can't imagine they will show more compunction concerning the civil government. In order to keep their government contracts, it is very likely they will say whatever they are told to say."
But that’s not the only questionable relationship. Their site is also closely aligned with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which means that holistic methods of dealing with medical issues will never be discussed – in favor of those methods approved by the FDA. In fact, their bond only strengthens the promotion of sponsored drugs.
WebMD also has ties to CBS news. (A prime example of mainstream media working overtime to keep you uninformed!) They work closely together to create co-branded news segments which are then broadcast to the public.
In 2008, CBS News ran a segment on how to protect oneself from bad medical information online. Part of the recommendations were to seek out sites like WebMD because its content had been reviewed/written by medical professionals.
With so many bedfellow associations, it would be very hard to determine whether or not their advice is truly valuable. It is therefore up to an individual to determine if they want to seek advice on a website that’s not transparent in its ties - and harder for anyone who hasn’t read about these conflicts of interest. (And you can bet there are millions.)
Furthermore, many of their ‘medical experts’ are affiliated with major advertisers, which is another way to steer readers into believing the information presented. Other advertisers include the nutrition and diet industry and the processed food industry. Their advertorials can easily be misunderstood as ‘real’ or science backed content by anyone unfamiliar with proper nutrition.
As stated by Terry J. Allen:14
"Numerous WebMD news videos and stories tacitly endorse fast food by posing misleading questions such as 'Fast-Food French Fries: Which Are Healthiest?' In 'Fast Food Survival,' the only quoted expert, 'Jodie Worrell, RD, Chick-fil-A dietitian,' praises the healthiness of her company's chicken sandwich. On WebMD's U.K. site... a Kellogg's-funded 'advertorial' asserts that a 'panel of world health experts'... concluded that a high sugar intake is not related to the development of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer.
And that Kellogg's breakfast cereals, some packing more sugar than a Twinkie, 'do not increase the risk of tooth decay' when eaten with milk... [T]here's a 'fundamental conflict between a business model that is reliant on pleasing BigPharma and other advertisers, and unbiased healthcare information that serves the public."
Merck Corporation is as you would expect one of their sponsors. When readers view pages related to vaccines, they will find the [alleged] benefits of vaccines continually repeated, while the hazards of vaccines are purposely omitted.
To this day, WebMD continues to present exceptionally one-sided views on the vaccine issue. What concerned parents are not presented, is the equally potent evidence of corporate influence and bias as to the information included.
Of course, you can’t mention propaganda without mentioning Monsanto. Their adverts also play a huge part in the content you’ll see on the site. Almost every article now flaunts a Monsanto ad saying, "It's time for a bigger discussion about food," along with links to Monsanto's biased message about soil, water, and honey bee issues, with no other information about GMOS on the page.
Furthermore, disclaimers on the site are barely noticeable and set in a typeset that encourages readers to just skip over them. There is blatant collusion between the sponsors and WebMD to sell you their health goals and products, without you realizing that you’ve been scammed into buying something that may or may not be in your best interest at all.
Their entire site is deliberately and maliciously set up to blur the lines between information and advertisements to sell very specific products and ideas. Is that really trustworthy? I think not.
As a whole, WebMD relies heavily on its sponsors and advertising dollars to exist, while it presents itself as a good source for medical information. But here’s the draw: Advertising has NOTHING to do with transparency and truth-telling – it’s all about making more dollars on sales at your expense. When marketing is presented as real content, consumers are bound to be misinformed.
*NOTE: If this information makes you madder than a hornet, (as it should), please join me in signing this petition
on the OCA (Organic Consumers Association) website telling Monsanto's CEO to stop promoting GMOS on Web MD!
Always consult your physician before using natural remedies, especially for anyone with preexisting conditions or anyone currently taking prescription medications. Although many efforts are made to ensure that the advice given on this site is professionally sound, the advice is not intended to replace a mutual relationship with a medical provider.
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