April 19, 2000
Vol. 1, No. 1
ISSN pending

Bruce Maxwell, Editor <>
Silver Hammer Publishing <>

Instructions for subscribing and unsubscribing are provided at
the end of this newsletter.

The News

The federal government and the states are having a hard time
regulating online sales of prescription drugs. Many rogue sites
are located overseas, where U.S. authorities have no
jurisdiction. But with Internet pharmacies selling $1.9 billion
worth of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and
health care products in 1999, regulators are scrambling to come
up with new enforcement tools.
Source: Salon - April 17, 2000

Most doctors aren't keen on the Internet, according to a report
by Forrester Research. Doctors don't like exchanging e-mail with
patients because it's an extra burden (and uncompensated at that)
and think that much of the medical information patients find
online is worthless. But they do like one thing: the up-to-date
research available at certain high-quality sites.
Source: Wired News - April 10, 2000,1294,35516,00.html

Despite a slew of deals involving consumer and
business-to-business Internet health sites, it's unclear how many
will survive. The true winners (other than those who bought stock
early) seem to be the top-level executives who are jumping from
Old Economy firms to Internet companies despite all their
Source: American Medical News - April 17, 2000

The April issue of the free journal "Health Information on the
Internet," published by the Royal Society of Medicine Press, has
a number of interesting articles. They discuss a new Web-based
diploma course in medical informatics, patient consultations and
the Web, new health-related Web sites (most based in England),
and evidence-based Internet searching, among other topics.
Source: Health Information on the Internet

The latest issue of the "Journal of Medical Internet Research" is
a special theme issue on e-health ethics. The articles address
topics such as ethical guidelines for e-health, the Internet
Healthcare Coalition, dealing with unsolicited patient e-mails,
and plagiarism online. All of the articles are online in full
Source: Journal of Medical Internet Research

Officials in England are exploring the possibility of creating a
"smart card" that would contain a person's entire medical record.
All the information also would be entered into a central
database, raising concerns about privacy and security.
Source: Electronic Telegraph - April 17, 2000

In response to a letter, a researcher describes a study he and
his colleagues recently conducted of 120 Web sites about
fibromyalgia. Nearly seven out of ten sites studied were operated
by fibromyalgia patients or societies devoted to the illness.
Still, the researchers found that only 25 percent of all the
sites provided reliable information.
Source: Archives of Internal Medicine - April 10, 2000

The Sites

MEDLINEplus, the consumer health site operated by the National
Library of Medicine, has recently added the medical
encyclopedia. The encyclopedia offers more than 4,000 brief
articles divided into eight categories: disease, injury,
nutrition, poison, special, surgery, symptoms, and tests.

USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
This site from the U.S. Department of Agriculture has introduced
a new feature called the Interactive Healthy Eating Index. Just
type in what you ate for a day and the site analyzes the quality
of your diet.

The Merck Manual Home Edition
The full text of the "Merck Manual of Medical Information - Home
Edition" is available at this site for free. The exhaustive
reference book, which sold 1.5 million copies, offers information
about diseases, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment.

National Center on Sleep Disorders Research
The National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, which is part of
the National Institutes of Health, offers information geared at
both the public and physicians at this site. For physicians, it
offers publications such as "Sleep Apnea: Is Your Patient at
Risk?" and "Problem Sleepiness in Your Patient." For the public,
it provides pamphlets about problem sleepiness, insomnia,
narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, and sleep apnea.
This site from the National Institutes of Health provides
information about more than 4,000 federal and private clinical
trials being conducted across the country. The site is aimed at
the public, and for each trial provides information about the
location, the design and purpose, the criteria for participation,
and the person responsible for recruiting participants. Users can
browse the database by condition or sponsor, or search it using
keywords. The site also has background information for people
considering participating in a clinical trial.

A Quick Plug

Congressional Quarterly has just published my book, "How to Track
Politics on the Internet," which describes more than 600 of the
best political Web sites, newsgroups, and mailing lists. The book
costs $29.95, and can be ordered from CQ (800-638-1710) or any
online bookstore. The table of contents and introduction are
available at
Copyright 2000 Silver Hammer Publishing. All rights reserved
worldwide. Please feel free to forward this newsletter to anyone
who might be interested, as long as you forward the entire
publication. However, it is expressly forbidden to post this
newsletter on any Web site or other electronic retrieval system.

To subscribe to HealthESites, send a blank e-mail to or visit the Web

HealthESites Web page <>
Advertising information <>

If you like this newsletter, you might like my others as well:
Health Newsbrief, Women's Health Newsbrief, Men's Health
Newsbrief, and PoliSites. Subscription info at

Bruce Maxwell
Silver Hammer Publishing
6937 Custis Parkway
Falls Church, VA 22042