Thursday, June 02, 2005

Are drug makers trying to spy on bloggers who post about any prescription drug?

On May 30, 2005 the Financial Times ran a story that drug manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson are considering the use of computer software to monitor blogs and various news groups when any site mentions a company product in internet postings. Talks are supposedly underway with Netrank and it's i-reputation service. It allegedly uses uses software bots to monitor posts to blogs and other web sites.

Use of Netrank's program would allow drug makers to ID potentially any posting or comment as to a prescription drug. Most worrisome to me is that drug companies could ultimately choose to contact the person who posts on the web. Would there be a cease and desist demand made? A retraction sought by an activist? Will this have a chilling effect? Stay tuned.