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WebMD to post safety notices

This article was originally published in The Silver Sheet

Executive Summary

Consumers will have expanded access to device safety information thanks to a new partnership between FDA and the popular health information Web site WebMD. Announced Dec. 3, the pact could boost the number of patients seeing agency alerts from 130,000 a month currently to tens of millions. The agreement calls for WebMD to feature at least 50 FDA-written articles on its Web site during the coming year, plus provide a link to the agency's full catalog of consumer updates. Further, FDA information will be published in at least three issues of WebMD's bimonthly magazine, distributed to 85 percent of doctors' offices in the United States. Currently FDA uses a Consumer Health Information page - found at www.fda.gov/consumer/default.htm - to publicize information about safety concerns with specific devices, drugs and foods, but the site gets relatively few visits. During a Dec. 3 press conference, FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach said the partnership grew out of the agency's ongoing exploration of ways to enhance communications with the public, adding that there are likely to be similar collaborations in the future

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