But I thought Dr. Oz cared about me.
Have you taken a Real Age (tm, natch) test? I have and considering how ubiquitous the ads for the test are, chances are many of you have too.
Well, it turns out that if you elected to join the Real Age (TM-to-the-MAX) forums, then all the answers to your test may have been turned over to pharmaceutical companies so that you could be targeted for drug ads based on your responses.
Pharmaceutical companies pay RealAge to compile test results of RealAge members and send them marketing messages by e-mail. The drug companies can even use RealAge answers to find people who show symptoms of a disease — and begin sending them messages about it even before the people have received a diagnosis from their doctors.
While few people would fill out a detailed questionnaire about their health and hand it over to a drug company looking for suggestions for new medications, that is essentially what RealAge is doing…
It acts as a clearinghouse for drug companies, including Pfizer, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline, allowing them to use almost any combination of answers from the test to find people to market to, including whether someone is taking antidepressants, how sexually active they are and even if their marriage is happy.
Honestly, I’ve always had mixed feelings about the whole Dr OZ thing. For every sensible suggestion he makes, he generally follows it up with at least one woo-ish recommendation. And the YOU books are becoming tiresome. (YOU: Continuing to buy our books because Oprah told you too.) Still, he has Oprah’s stamp of approval and that means a lot of people assume he’s looking out for them and not for his brand’s bottom line.
At the very least, people should be aware that they’re giving out their medical info when they agree to join the forums.