Drug Searches Yield Different Results, 'Eh?

Internet-based searches for prescription drug information turn up different results in America and Canada

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) When individuals look up prescription drug information online, Americans and Canadians often turn up different information.

Americans searching for drug information are often directed to the National Library of Medicine, whereas Canadians performing the same searches end up perusing Wikipedia for generic drug searches and pharmaceutical company sites for brand searches, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia.

The most-viewed drug information Web pages are the pages for drugs with high potential for addiction such as oxycodone and drugs for stigmatized diseases, such as antidepressants.

A 2010 partnership between Google and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) means NIH-sponsored drug information pages feature more prominently during U.S.-based searches. Other sites, such as Wikipedia and pharmaceutical brand Web pages, may be biased and not as reliable.

U.S. residents combing through Bing and Yahoo search engines, and Canadian residents searching Google.ca were led to Wikipedia pages or industry-sponsored sites most often, according to the study.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
February 23, 2011
Last Updated:
February 24, 2011