Physicians’ social media network, Sermo, has launched a new database for prescription drugs featuring ratings, reviews and comments. The Drug Ratings database is only available to physicians who are increasingly using the internet to research the safety, efficacy and tolerability of drugs in the real world.
About 650,000 physicians around the world are currently members of Sermo, making it the largest social network designed especially for doctors. Until now, the Drug Ratings tool has been undergoing beta testing, during which time over 250,000 ratings and 20,000 comments have added to a database containing 1,000 pharmaceuticals.
“To date, there have not been networks for physicians to share important information about experiences with the medications prescribed for patients,” said Dr. Heidi Moawad, a neurologist that participated in beta testing of the tool. “This new tool offers a large community of physicians access to see the subtle issues involved with medications. Ratings will be an invaluable part of physicians’ daily routines. This level of transparency will enhance patient care.”
While clinical trials data and manufacturer side effect information are important in helping physicians make prescribing decisions, real-world evidence is becoming more relevant, particularly when it comes to new therapies. By providing physicians with a way to share their experience on the safety, efficacy, tolerability and adherence to a specific drug, they can be empowered to make better treatment decisions.
The Sermo creators point out that drug review sites for patients have existed online for years, however their Drug Ratings tool is the first physician-only global database. Sermo is positioning their database as the Amazon or Yelp of drug reviews.
“This is revolutionary for doctors – we trust our peers’ experiences most and often refer to each other when deciding what to prescribe,” said Dr. Linda Girgis, a family practitioner in New Jersey. “Drug Ratings lets us hear from more of our colleagues, from all around the world in real time.”
The Sermo creators polled 4,500 doctors before the tool was made available to members to get a better understanding of how a drug ratings database might be beneficial. Of those polled, 74 percent said that drug reviews from other physicians would help them with their prescribing decisions. What’s more, 91 percent of physicians believe that pharmaceutical marketing information released alongside a drug can be misleading at least some of the time.
To keep the reviews unbiased, only verified physicians – and not pharmaceutical companies – will be able to contribute to the tool. In addition, a Sermo spokeswoman told FiercePharma that Sermo “will never share what any specific doctor has said about a drug, or anything else. Sermo exists to offer doctors a place to anonymously and collectively drive medicine forward, and Drug Ratings adheres to the same privacy standards as everything else on the Sermo social network.”