NYT: Online Age Quiz Is a Window for Drug Makers

realage From the New York Times article Online Age Quiz Is a Window for Drug Makers we learn that takers of the popular online RealAge test are handing out valuable data to drug companies.

“According to RealAge, more than 27 million people have taken the test, which asks 150 or so questions about lifestyle and family history to assign a “biological age,” how young or old your habits make you. Then, RealAge makes recommendations on how to get “younger,” like taking multivitamins, eating breakfast and flossing your teeth. Nine million of those people have signed up to become RealAge members.

But while RealAge promotes better living through nonmedical solutions, the site makes its money by selling better living through drugs.”

I guess this was predictable to some. Supposedly the info provided is not connected to your name, but still I wonder when less scrupulous web data vendors will provide that info too.

Mr. Mikulak said that RealAge protected privacy: it does not give personally identifiable information to the drug companies and the advertisements in e-mail messages are clearly labeled as such. RealAge is “providing value in return for the information,” he said.

That is a fair trade-off, some members said. Leslie Swan, 31, a stay-at-home mother and former pharmaceuticals saleswoman in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., took RealAge after a Dr. Oz appearance on Oprah. She had not been aware that drug companies had access to her answers, but, she said, she was not bothered by that.

“So many patients are so clueless and they count on their doctor to know everything and be right 100 percent of the time and don’t always inform themselves, and I think that’s a huge mistake,” Ms. Swan said. “As a patient and a person, you have to take your health into your own hands.”

Read more…

About Gandalfe

Just an itinerant saxophonist trying to find life between the changes. I have retired from the Corps of Engineers and Microsoft. I am an admin on the Woodwind Forum, run the Seattle Solid GOLD Big Band (formerly the Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra), and enjoy time with family and friends.
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