Epocrates, a free smartphone application used by 320,000 U.S. doctors, hosts ads that are beginning to chafe white-coat sensibilities. The app serves as a dosing and interaction reference for physicians, and in a time when the number of door-to-door pharmaceutical representatives is dwindling, Epocrates says that ads on its app can be one of the best ways for pharmaceutical companies to bring a new drug to the attention of doctors.
Practicing physicians have said that drug ads on the app have become too intrusive, and other critics within the medical industry have pointed out that the ads may threaten ethical standards.
“With targeted ads in Google, you may buy something that’s an unwise purchase,” Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman, associate professor of medicine at Georgetown University, told reporters. “But when a physician is influenced in Epocrates, it’s the patient who’s bearing the financial and health risk.”
Read more at The New York Times.