Exploiting digital social diffusion: problematic dissemination of prescription drug news in Latin America
More details
Hide details
Georgia Southern University, United States
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A571
Background and Objective: Due to public health concerns, most countries of the world ban companies from directly advertising medicines to the public. However, the rise of new digital media allows for the dissemination of information that does not promote the rational use of prescription drugs. The objective of this study is to evaluate reports on medicines and analyze their diffusion on social media platforms. Methods: This study searched for the top 19 drugs sold in 2018 using Media Cloud, an engine that organizes digital media on the Internet and places them in a database, published in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Peru, and Colombia. Three coders decided on the following criteria: Source of information (news media, op-ed, university, company, government, NGO); Propaganda (Yes/No/Maybe); Content (new treatment, abuse, regulation, price, industry, other); Tone (neutral, laudatory, critical); and Adverse Reactions (ADRs) mentioned (Yes/No). Results: A total of 424 stories mentioning the top brands (329 in Spanish, 95 in Portuguese) were collected. A subgroup of 213 stories was shared on Facebook (FB) (141 in SP, 72 in PT), of which 35 stories had more than 100 FB shares. The count of articles coded as laudatory, critical, and neutral are 75, 91, and 47, respectively, and a majority (N=155) not mentioning ADRs. For stories shared more than 100 times on FB, 19 were coded as laudatory compared to critical (N=10) or neutral (N=6), and stories not mentioning ADRs (N=25) totaled more than those that did not (N=10). Conclusions: Prescription drug news with laudatory frames as well as content that fails to mention potential side effects appears to disseminate more on social media.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top