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December 2008 return to the table of contents

FDA Partners with WebMD for Consumer Information

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and WebMD are partnering to expand access to timely product safety information for consumers by featuring FDA Consumer Health Information on WebMD's site and in WebMD The Magazine.

"We are enthusiastic about this collaboration with WebMD because it will enable us to reach more consumers with accurate, science-based information that can help them improve their health," says Commissioner of Food and Drugs Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D.

The partnership includes the following components:

  • A new online resource on WebMD.com (www.webmd.com/fda): This cross-linked joint resource features FDA consumer updates—timely and easy-to-read articles that are also posted on FDA's main consumer Web page (www.fda.gov/consumer/).
  • FDA contributions to WebMD The Magazine: FDA consumer updates will be featured at least three times a year in WebMD's bimonthly magazine, which reaches nearly 9 million consumers. The magazine is distributed to physician office waiting rooms across the country.

With more than 49 million unique visitors each month, WebMD provides timely health news and information. This partnership reflects FDA's interest in sharing product safety information with a wider audience in the most effective and convenient way.

Consumers have increased their use of all types of information sources to find health information, with the Internet leading the way as the fastest growing source, according to a national study released in August 2008 from the Center for Studying Health System Change. Researchers found that 32 percent of American consumers—70 million adults—conducted online health searches in 2007, compared with 16 percent in 2001.

The study also found that consumers who actively researched health concerns reported positive impacts. More than half of those surveyed said the information changed their overall approach to maintaining their health. Four in five said the information helped them better understand how to treat an illness or condition.

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