Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How useful is Wikipedia as a drug information resource?

Not very, according to this study.

Wikipedia has a more narrow scope, is less complete, and has more errors of omission than the comparator database. Wikipedia may be a useful point of engagement for consumers, but is not authoritative and should only be a supplemental source of drug information.

I use it occasionally to check brand names, manufacturer names and as a starting point to find primary sources, but that’s about it.


Anonymous said...

It looks like you're probably unusual.

As a side note, a study that compares a general-purpose encyclopedia to a drug information resource is probably missing an obvious point: encyclopedias have a different format and different priorities.

Michael Simpson said...

I've been complaining about Wikipedia's contribution to medical knowledge for a long-time. I've reviewed a bunch of their medical articles (I actually did not look at too many drug articles, assuming wrongly that the legal staff at Wikipedia would have been horrified to see articles that did not adhere to drug labeling requirements). A lot of woo shows up in many of the articles, and strong statements warning of the pseudoscientific nature of many articles (especially CAM treatments) is avoided. I think that Wikipedia has become an abomination.

Michael Simpson said...

BTW, can you post the link? It goes to a sign-in page, and I can't figure out what the primary source is.