Introduction: Social Media (SM) is evolving and more number of people are experiencing benefits of SM. Though use of social media is beneficial, it has to be carefully calibrated when used for sharing health information. Social networks act as a powerful marketing channels in healthcare industry but many questions need to be resolved. Objective: We carried out a study to understand use of SM to seek health information. Method: The cross sectional study used convenience sampling method. The data was collected with the help of a structured questionnaire and the study was carried out in two different states of India. We received a total of 156 usable responses. Results: Prominently youngsters in the age group of 18-27 years use MS. Majority of the respondents were from health sciences background and had undergraduate qualification. WhatsApp is the preferred SM platform followed by Facebook, YouTube, twitter, blogs and LinkedIn. The information searched on SM include disease and related information, and information on medicines. Interestingly, 35 percent of respondents trust health information, 32 percent do not trust the information and 33 percent do not always trust health related information. Respondents stated that health information available through SM should have various controls. Conclusion: In India, at present we do not have legal mechanism to oversee that health information on social media is authentic. Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 is archaic and needs transformation including provisions on monitoring and controlling health information available through SM.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)