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08 October 2008

Get thee behind me, Big Pharma!

I was contacted by a very friendly and persistent woman named Kelli regarding this Big Pharma-sponsored website that's supposedly created for the needs of migraine bloggers like us.

What follows is my response to the site, toned down for an email to Kelli, who wanted to know what I thought of the site, if I would use it, etc. I didn't point out to her any of the grammatical or spelling errors I found, nor did I mention the occasional link that led to the incorrect article or video.

Grrr! It makes me so angry that Big Pharma is even trying to worm its way into our grassroots patient-oriented blog community!

Dear Kelli,

Thanks for keeping in touch regarding the website. I would've forgotten to look at it were it not for your helpful reminders.

Unfortunately, I don't anticipate ever using the resources on my blog. First and foremost, there's not a whole lot of information available I can't get on my own through web searches and a bit of basic research. The hints and such are good for people who are just starting out in the world of Migraine sufferers & doctors; they're not so useful for we Migraine bloggers who already know a bit more about how to handle the disease and learn to cope with it.

I had high hopes for the video section, but all the videos felt like advertisements--very glossy commercials. Lo and behold, there was an advertisement for the pharmaceutical's prescription drug at the end of each snippet. I would not put that on my site, ever.

The links take a while to load, too--maybe someone is working on improving speed?

One glaring problem with the site is that it's BRIGHT white--and the links are light blue. Most migraineurs are very sensitive to bright light (especially fluorescent or blue-tinged computer light), and looking at your site made me squint even though my screen was dimmed as low as it could go. I highly recommend you change the background color at the very least so it's readable and doesn't hurt migraineurs' eyes.

Overall, I appreciate your personal effort in making this site and getting in touch with bloggers. I am not attempting to drive more traffic to my blog, so the "bring more people to your site" pitch does not appeal to me. I think there's a LOT more information, articles, etc. you could post to make it more useful. Unfortunately, some other sites (MAGNUM's, other blogs, etc.) already have a comprehensive list of online resources, so there's not much use for yet another site like yours--especially since yours is sponsored by Big Pharma.

Again, I do appreciate your effort but won't be using the site. Thanks for thinking of me and asking for my input.

-Janet G.


Debbie said...

Your letter to Kelli was very diplomatic. If you can, I would let her know the glitches in the website so someone could change it.

I went to the site and I agree that the information is rather basic and could be found on other sites. The videos were short and most of them sounded that they were leading up to something. I could not click on "Click here to see the whole video". Only one showed that they were promoting a particular drug.

The resource links were only links to well-known migraine sites. I would not use the link on my site because it is promoting a particular drug.

themigrainegirl said...


I probably will let her know about the glitches when she writes back. The editor part of me wants to help out, but the critical consumer part of me doesn't want to volunteer my time to improve a Topamax-sponsored site.

The logo & font that appear at the end of each video are indeed Topamax's. Many videos explain how the preventive therapies they tried in the past never worked, but now they have an unnamed drug that is helping them prevent migraines and get their lives back. Then at the end of the video you see a subtle (and very important) reference to Topamax. Oooh, it makes me mad!

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