Track Your Plaque and non-commercialism

If you're a Track Your Plaque Member or viewer, you may know that we have resisted outside commercial involvement. We do not run advertising on the site, we do not allow drug companies to post ads, we do not covertly sponsor supplements. We do this to main the unbiased content of the site.

We've seen too many sites be tempted by the money offered by a drug company only to see content gradually drift towards providing nothing more than cleverly concealed drug advertising. I personally find this deceptive and disgusting. Ads are ads and everyone knows it. But when you subvert content, secretly driven by a commercial agenda, that I find abhorrent.

That said, however, I do wonder if we need the participation of some outside commercial interests to help our members. In other words, many (over half) of the questions and conversations we have with people is about what supplement to take, or what medication to take. While we cannot offer direct medical advice online (nor should we) because of legal and ethical restrictions, I wonder if could facilitate access to products.

Many people struggle, for instance, with trusted sources for l-arginine, vitamin D, fish oil. Other people struggle with finding a heart scan center because of the changing landscape of the CT scanning industry. Could we somehow provide a clear-cut segment of the website that clearly demarcates what is commercial and non-Track Your Plaque-originated, yet at least provides a starting place for more info?

Ideally, we would have personally tried and investigated everything there is out there applicable to the program. But that's simply impossible at this stage.

I feel strongly that we will never run conventional ads on the site. Nor will we ever permit any outside commercial interest to dictate what and how we say something. The internet world is full of places like that. Look at WebMD. I find the site embarassing in the degree of commercial bias there. We will NEVER sell out like that, regardless of the temptation. People with heart disease are all conducting a war with the commercial forces working to profit from them--hospitals, cardiologists, drug companies, medical device companies (yes, even they advertise to the public, e.g., implantable defibrillators--no kidding). Genuine, honest, unbiased information is sorely needed and not from some kook who either knows nothing about real people with real disease, or has a hidden agenda like selling you chelation.

I'd welcome any feedback either through this Blog or through the

Comments (6) -

  • Warren

    4/29/2007 6:02:00 PM |

    I agree with the need for some sort of unbiased but brand/manufacturer-oriented guidance.  I guess my question would be, if this content is not based on your specific experience, what criteria would you apply to determine how to assure some level of credibility?  With advertising, the criteria is generally willingness to pay the price of the advertising.  If you want to maintain higher standards than that, won't it require someone with either understanding or technical expertise or direct experience to assess whether the producer is credible and trustworthy?

    As it stands, I am looking for someone whose opinion I can trust regarding which supplement suppliers to turn to.  I have been impressed and surprised by the degree of your willingness to tell it the way you see it, including naming names of product manufacturers that you have found to supply products that seem to work for your patient population.  I hope you'll keep that up no matter what.  And I'm interested in how this idea develops.

  • Dr. Davis

    4/29/2007 8:31:00 PM |

    Thanks for the helpful thoughts.

    I wonder if a user comment method would work. In other words, say a product manufacturer makes a claim and sells their product to you (Track Your Plaque would not sell it), there will be comments from people who have tried the product and their supplier before.

    Such a system would not be as certain as providing our own stamp of endorsement (which we could still do, of course), but it would encourage an open conversation. Hopefully, any undesirable products would be rapidly identified as such.

    My concern is that, with hundreds or thousands of products out there, we end up saying "We've never tried it" all too often.

  • Eugene

    5/1/2007 3:38:00 AM |

    Dr. Davis for as much time and effort that is put in the TYP program, why not i'am sure the snake oil salesman would not want his product under the gun like people on this progran would do, frank discussions on supplements is not a bad thing as a example i'am the person who asked you about PGX fiber, its called WellBeX and is marketed by Natural Factors, one more example would be i use a insulin mimetic R-alpha lipoic acid with biotin (also a very good antioxidant) i can buy the brand name Insulow or i can use a different brand (Glucophase),for less money that does the same thing, being a type 2 i test all of the time and sometimes go days eating the same thing at the same time i know that i can get between 10 and 12 points with either one.  i know their are a lot of supplements but we only talk about a few, and like i said before why not, my biggest concern on buying supplements are they selling what they say they are selling or is it different item that will not work, or is made up with a different material than is is advertized. why not get some add revenue, their are good products out their, Upsher-Smith Slo Niacin, Endurance's Endur-acin SR both are good nicotinic Acid products, Insulow makes a good product, one more example would be the Vitamin Shoppe sells a  good Vitamin D softgel under their store brand this is a good product, but they also sell under their store brand a no flush Niacin in their heart supplement area , this product is worthless for the TYP program, I would say start with the products, that we know, and expand a little at a time, also how about Direct access testing for blood work, i use Lab Corp to get my NMR lipoprofile i'am sure that their are others full speed ahead, I think increased revenue could have some good outcomes

  • Dr. Davis

    5/1/2007 11:54:00 AM |

    Great thoughts.

    I think, if and when we proceed with such a process, that we:

    1) Have some sort of checklist for approval of quality, price, availability, purity, etc. and provide our stamp of approval.

    2) Convey our comments in addition to info provided by the manufacturer or distributor.

    3) Permit all the Track Your Plaque participants to leave their own comments, much like Amazon does with books.

  • Anonymous

    5/4/2007 3:42:00 AM |

    A record holder in plaque reduction has now been acheived.  What brand of supplements was the member using? What brand of fish oil? This is when a recommendation would be welcomed!!

  • Dr. Davis

    5/4/2007 11:36:00 PM |

    Nothing magical: He used Sam's Club fish oil.