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U.S. News

Much More Than Just Following Your Doctor's Orders

July 12, 2012

Janssen, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, has developed an interactive website so people taking its HIV drug Prezista can learn more about it.

Consumers often are given drug information sheets when they pick up their prescription, but these are typically dull and hard to read. features animated characters who detail how the drug works. "Jacob," a newly diagnosed patient, discusses the importance of taking the drug every day, possible side effects and questions patients may have for their doctor.

"The project was developed around a long-term goal to create new approaches to education," said Philomena McArthur, senior director of regulatory advertising and promotions at Janssen Therapeutics. "It's not intended as a promotional tool but as an educational tool," McArthur said. "We hope patients will use it to get answers to their questions -- about the product, about its proper use, about its safety -- in a way that's easy to understand."

However, Michael Carome, of Public Citizen's Health Research Group, said such information is best left to objective sources, such as the Food and Drug Administration. The website appears to be a sophisticated blend of education and marketing, Carome said. "It's clear that part of Janssen's goal is to promote sales of the drug in a very subtle, nuanced way," he said.

The website is not meant to replace FDA-approved educational materials, McArthur said. The company plans to promote the site at doctor's offices, pharmacies, clinics, and community centers serving people with HIV.

Joseph Tarallo, vice president of the New Jersey Pharmacists Association, noted that pharmacists are an often-overlooked source of information for patients. "We are here to speak with patients and answer questions," he said.

Back to other news for July 2012

Adapted from:
Star-Ledger (Newark)
06.24.2012; Susan Todd

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More on HIV Medications
More News on Darunavir (Prezista)

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