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This idea just stroke me: isn't pharma a perfect area of knowledge to benefit from a stackexchange site? I am not into that field, but supposedly it is pretty complicated with a lot of different drugs, companies, effects, regulations in different countires, etc. So on the site people working in the pharmaceutical area could ask about pharma literature, specific drugs, their effects/alternatives/dosages/bieffects/etc. Normal people could use the site to double-check what their doctors are prescribing, if there any alternatives, if any specific bi-effects are to be expected from the drug and so on... In many countries not all doctors are to be trusted, so such a website with answers providing links to other sources would be a gem. I haven't defined this more than this, I was just surprised that there wasn't such a site or even a proposal already, so are there any obvious reasons why such a proposal should not exist?

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    If you downvote, comment instead. Otherwise nobody knows why you downvoted and what you didn't like. – Cray May 6 '12 at 8:21
  • Health.se is currently 481 days in beta. I'd argue your question is now obsolete. – Mast Jul 25 '16 at 14:19
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I don't see any obvious reason why it shouldn't exist.

However, if it were to be created then we'd need to be very careful that it worked alongside doctors and their advice and was not a direct replacement. Pitching the site as somewhere where people could check things out and ask others if they don't trust their doctors, is, in my view a disaster waiting to happen (patient asks a question not giving their full medical history and says what they've been prescribed, people say they shouldn't have been taking that, patient stops taking the prescription or takes something else instead, and ends up far worse or dead.)

OK, it's an extreme scenario, but it's entirely possible and with this sort of area it's one we'd need to be very careful of (both ethically and legally.)

  • Absolutely, and in fact, the site should not be about diagnoses and even symptoms, more about the specific drugs and studies that show their effects, and even more so about specific facts about the drugs, like for example, which drugs are the same (but manufactured by different companies with different names). This WILL NOT be a general medical advice site where people would just describe their symptoms and hope to find out which drugs they should take. – Cray May 6 '12 at 8:25
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are there any obvious reasons why such a proposal should not exist?

No, there aren't. Probably, nobody thought of creating such proposal, or nobody though it could be interesting.
About your points, I can say:

  • There aren't much people that know about regulations in different countries, and are experts in the pharmaceutical area. The main objective of a site is catching experts; without them, the site doesn't survive.
  • Questions about effect of drugs are already on-topic for the Health proposal.
  • Double-checking what their doctors are prescribing should not be a reason to use the site. Those questions would probably be too localized, as doctors prescribe medicines basing on the patient: If that patient has allergy to something, the doctor avoids prescribing a medicine that would cause that allergy (there are people with allergy to aspirin); if the patient is already taking another medicine, the doctor doesn't prescribe medicines that should not be taken together that medicine. At the end, you should know too much details that the question would be too localized: If a doctor didn't prescribe a medicine to a person, that doesn't mean I cannot take it.

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