Intended for healthcare professionals

News criticised for mixing information with advertising

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 18 September 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:727
  1. Fred Charatan
  1. Florida

    One year ago, the former US Surgeon General, C Everett Koop, opened his own health website (, which became a public company last June (19 June, p 1644).

    With its 80 000 electronic pages, it quickly became the most popular of the estimated 15 000 health related websites in the United States.

    Dr Koop is now facing a mounting barrage of criticism from medical ethicists (including two representatives of the American Medical Association), consumer advocates, and others. The major complaint is that the website frequently blurs the line between its objective information and its advertising and promotional content.

    Dr Joshua Hauser, a medical ethicist at the University of Chicago, said that when he visited the website he …

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