With the influx of pharmaceutical drugs onto the US market, many agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Department of Public Health (DPH), have been created in order to protect consumers and regulate the pharmaceutical industry. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is an agency of the United States Health and Human Services, and is the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and health-related research. Within the NIH, there are many subsidiary groups such as the Health Information Index, The Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center, and The National Library of Medicine, which assist the NIH in fulfilling its goal of advancing health-related research.
The NIH Health Information Index is an easy-to-navigate website, which lists diseases and conditions that are categorized by the inflicted area of the body. While this is beneficial to those who are suffering from common conditions, The NIH Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center, which is a collaborative effort by The Office of Rare Diseases Research (ORDR) and The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), aim to help people find useful information about genetic conditions and extremely rare diseases. Individuals can work towards finding a potential cause for any negative symptoms they may be experiencing, by looking over a drop-down menu. Those who fail to find an answer after looking at The NIH Health Information Index and The NIH Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center generally turn to the NIH National Library of Medicine’s, MEDLINEplus. MEDLINEplus provides easy access to all things health-related, such as medical dictionaries, health topics, and peer-reviewed health publications. It serves as a great resource for those looking to research multiple health conditions or find study results.
Although not equipped with such a wide array of health topics like MEDLINEplus or The Health Information Index, the US Department of Health and Human Services’ healthfinder, serves as a reputable source for health information. On healthfinder, users can find guides for good nutrition, exercise, and many other aspects of healthy living. Healthfinder also has a physician and dentist referral program available to consumers, free of charge.
In the event that a consumer is no longer looking for health-related advice, but has been experiencing adverse reactions following the use of any drug or device, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) operates MedWatch. MedWatch is the FDA’s Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program and serves as the gateway for finding clinically important information, while also providing the opportunity for patients to report any adverse reactions.