RxList Editorial Policy
Our mission is to bring you the most objective, trustworthy, and accurate health information on the web. Our daily goal is to ensure that WebMD is your practical and relevant content source for health and medicine.
We are committed to providing information on a wide variety of health topics, and rather than filtering certain types of information that may or may not be applicable to any one individual's personal health, we rely on you, our reader, to choose the information that is most appropriate for you. Be aware, however, that information on WebMD or any other web site should not be used as a substitute for professional healthcare. You should always consult your health professional before acting on any information seen on WebMD or any other web site.
The following sections detail our content policies and procedures.
Editorial Selection Criteria for Original Content Created by WebMD
WebMD creates original content based upon the following criteria:
Relevance -- Issues that could affect how you manage your own health and that of your family's. Topics include coverage of breaking health news; drug and product launches, recalls, and alerts; health advisories; and expert commentary on managing diseases and conditions and staying healthy. Our 2001 coverage of anthrax and bio-terrorism is a stellar example of our commitment to addressing relevant issues to our users; we were the only web site to be awarded four stars by the Wall Street Journal for anthrax data and information.
Clinical Significance -- The latest medical findings published in peer-reviewed medical journals, such as The Journal of the American Medical Association, The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, Pediatrics, Diabetes Care, Circulation, and many others.
Trends -- Seasonal interests, such as "Healthy Holidays," "Fourth of July Safety," "Allergy Seasons," and "Back to School Health;" public health awareness, such as "Breast Cancer Awareness Month," "Diabetes Awareness Month," and "Healthy Heart Month;" and emerging health trends, such as the latest in nutrition, fitness, aging, healthy living, alternative approaches, and much more.
Our News Is Different
It's more reliable. In a medium often accused of providing outdated and inaccurate information, WebMD stands out as a credible, authoritative source of health news.
Our editors and reporters bring their experience from some of the world's most respected newsrooms: National Public Radio, CNN, Chicago Sun-Times, BioWorld Today, Physician's Weekly, Boston Globe, Associated Press, Time-Life Health, and ReutersHealth, to name a few.
Our news stories are based on our editors' selections of the most important and relevant health events occurring on a given day. Our news articles usually are more than a short summary of a study or an event. They often contain interviews with the medical researchers who authored them, plus interviews with objective experts who can put the research into context and tell the reader what it means in today's world.
Editorial Integrity -- WebMD's journalistic responsibility is to make a clear distinction between news and other information, so that individuals can readily distinguish independent editorial information from paid, promotional information and other non-news content.
Editorial Independence -- In its reporting, WebMD maintains exemplary principles of fairness, accuracy, objectivity, and responsible, independent reporting.
Journalistic Excellence -- WebMD upholds traditional journalistic principles of excellence in reporting original news for the Internet and in reviewing and corroborating information from other sources.
Editorial Policy for WebMD News Staff
WebMD News is an independent media service designed to provide news, information, and educational material to consumers and physicians. News content created by WebMD is free from influence by sponsors, partners, or other sources.
Anyone who serves on the WebMD News staff must fully disclose any financial or other interests that he or she may have in any drug, biotech, medical device, or other company perceived to have influence in the healthcare industry. Such disclosure must be made to the individual's immediate supervisor at the time of hiring or at the time that the financial or other interest develops. The supervisor will determine whether the interest presents a conflict and, if so, what must be done to eliminate it.
WebMD keeps its News staff separate and distinct from staff dedicated to sponsors or partners. No person will serve on both staffs, no News employee will be asked to perform duties on behalf of a sponsor or provide favored treatment to a sponsor or partner.
The WebMD News staff is charged with the responsibility of providing objective, accurate, and balanced accounts of events and issues. WebMD reporters must diligently seek out subjects of stories or qualified experts to provide commentary. They must also seek objective commentary or comment from a qualified spokesperson to provide balance. Material generated by WebMD News staff must disclose information about financial relationships or other interests that might influence outcome of a study or the commentary from an individual.
WebMD journalists strive to provide thorough and honest coverage and share a dedication to ethical behavior and the highest professional standards.
News & Original Article Process
Each weekday, our staff of physicians and medical journalists plans the daily news "budget," all stories planned for the day. It contains the latest information from the most important medical journals, announcements from federal health agencies, and analyses on the latest health trends. Our experienced health reporters talk daily with prominent medical leaders, providing in-depth analyses, updates, and profiles that give our health news and content a perspective found nowhere else. Every original article is reviewed by our staff of full-time, board-certified physician journalists.
The WebMD Editorial staff gets its stories from an array of sources: peer-reviewed medical journals, medical conferences, federal or state government actions, and enterprise material derived from interviews with medical experts. The majority of stories originate from studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals. WebMD also believes that valuable content is available from WebMD sponsors, advertisers, and partners, but that such content must be clearly labeled.
Each completed story to be published is reviewed by a medical editor for accuracy, appropriateness of medical language, and proper characterization of the findings. The story is next reviewed by an Assistant Managing Editor who edits it for style, flow, punctuation, and readability. Finally, the story moves from editing to publishing, where it is converted to HTML and published to the site.
When WebMD licenses health and wellness content from third-parties for publication on our site, the WebMD senior medical editors and physician editors review the third-party's editorial policies and procedures for consistency with the WebMD Editorial Policies, including without limitation the conflicts of interest policy. While the WebMD Editorial Staff may not review each page of the third-party licensed content, the Editorial Staff does review a representative sample of the content to ensure that the third-party implements the editorial policy and procedures reviewed by WebMD and that the content is accurate, timely and relevant. In addition, WebMD contractually requires the third-party to adhere to these standards and have their content medically reviewed at least annually by a credible medical or healthcare reviewer other than WebMD. The content may be updated more frequently if news warrants. If the license does not permit WebMD to make changes to the content, WebMD makes best efforts to remove the content from the site until the licensor updates the material.
Sponsored Content and Advertising
In using our site, you will see that some content, buttons, badges and banners are labeled "Sponsored", "From Our Sponsor" or "Advertisement". This content has not been reviewed by the WebMD Editorial Staff and is not subject to this Editorial Policy. Content, buttons, badges or banners labeled "Sponsored" or "From Our Sponsor" are subject to the policy governing Our Sponsor Policy. Content, buttons, badges and banners labeled "Advertisement" are subject to our Advertising and Promotions Policy.
For information on WebMD's Correction's Policy, please click here.
Last Updated: November 30, 2006
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