Why Internet is the New Disseminator of Science: More than half of the information in health campaigns is not based on clinical trials or scientific research.
Nevertheless, science communication is crucial as the transmission of science strongly influences the population, health professionals when choosing which drug to recommend, and lay individuals who have to make decisions that will affect their health.
That is why everyone should be aware of the difficulties science communication faces and how it is influenced by the economic benefits of pharmaceutical companies and the current mass transmission of information via the internet and social media, which can cause healthcare panics.
First of all, the popularization of science is defined as communicating scientific knowledge to lay people clearly and understandably.
Since 3000 BC, with the discovery of writing, all knowledge began to be written down, but its dissemination was limited at that time.
However, over the years, the ways of transmitting knowledge and science have multiplied, from the first libraries, scientific manuscripts, scientific journals, museums, radio, etc., to the emergence of the internet.
And there have always been difficulties in transmitting this information to the population. One of them is the lexicon used, as doctors and pharmacists often use highly specialized vocabulary that is incomprehensible to most people.
In addition, scientific language uses metaphors, words with ambiguous meanings, synonyms, polysemous words, etc. For this reason, information can often be interpreted in different ways, which can cause the opposite effect on the receiver.
On the other hand, scientific dissemination to health professionals is also essential, where the advertising of medicines comes in.
Multinational pharmaceutical companies invest a lot of money in health campaigns in which they advertise their medicines, including in their advertisements information that guarantees the efficacy of their products.
Therefore, many studies confirm that more than 53% of the claims in advertisements found in scientific journals, such as the Lancet or the New England Journal of Medicine, are not supported by clinical trials or the studies they cite.
Rather, the information appears very attractive and positive since its main objective is to present a product and promise a benefit.
Moreover, this is also where medical sales representatives play a significant role. These are information agents of pharmaceutical companies who promote their products to health care personnel.
However, this area is very corrupted by economic interests, as immoral practices have been discovered. Sales representatives offer gifts, trips, or money to doctors to prescribe more of their medicines and thus make more money for the pharmaceutical laboratory.
Also, pharmaceutical spending in Spain has increased over the last few years. These corrupt practices may be one of the main reasons for this increase due to unnecessary prescribing of medicines.
The new disseminator of science.