November 25, 2015

Study Shows Wikipedia Rx Drug Pages Often Outdated, Inaccurate

Report about new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Here’s part of an iHealthBeat Summary:

The researchers examined 22 drug safety warnings issued by FDA between 2011 and 2012 for an array of diseases and conditions, including hepatitis C, hypertension and leukemia. They then assessed the accuracy and timeliness of Wikipedia entries related to each drug for 60 days before and after the FDA communications were issued.

The researchers found that there were more than 13 million searches on Google and five million Wikipedia page views for each of the prescription drugs during the study period. In the week following FDA communications, the number of Google searches for each drug increased by an average of 82% and the number of Wikipedia page views increased by 175%.

However, the study found that:

Just 41% of the relevant Wikipedia pages had been updated within two weeks of the FDA communications;
23% of the pages took more than two weeks to reflect the FDA warnings; and
36% of the pages did not reflect the FDA warning one year after the warning was issued.

Read the Complete Summary

The full text research paper is available online (free).

Direct to: Drug Safety in the Digital Age
New England Journal of Medicine 2014; 370:2460-2462

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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