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AMA J Ethics. 2018 Nov 1;20(11):E1052-1058. doi: 10.1001/amajethics.2018.1052.

Why Health Professionals Should Speak Out Against False Beliefs on the Internet.

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A clinical ethics fellow at Children's Minnesota and Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a senior lecturer at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in the Division Health Policy and an affiliate faculty member of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota.
A member of the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute's program leadership and the American Society of Human Genetics' Social Issues Committee.


Broad dissemination and consumption of false or misleading health information, amplified by the internet, poses risks to public health and problems for both the health care enterprise and the government. In this article, we review government power for, and constitutional limits on, regulating health-related speech, particularly on the internet. We suggest that government regulation can only partially address false or misleading health information dissemination. Drawing on the American Medical Association's Code of Medical Ethics, we argue that health care professionals have responsibilities to convey truthful information to patients, peers, and communities. Finally, we suggest that all health care professionals have essential roles in helping patients and fellow citizens obtain reliable, evidence-based health information.

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