Rules for the Web

Hi-Ethics for Health Internet Ethics, a group representing 20 US based health dot.coms, has released 14 ethical principles for medical websites. This isn't the only set of ethical standards developed for the Internet. The AMA has published its own guidelines in the March 22/29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. These were followed by the Internet Healthcare Coalition's eHealth Ethics Initiative and a code of conduct developed by a Geneva-based nonprofit group. The rush to regulate medicine on the Internet has developed new concerns. Foremost among them are which code is the "real" code of medical ethics and who will certify that Web sites espousing these principles are in fact complying with them. For more information visit Health on theNet Foundation, Geneva at www.hon.ch/HONcode; Model Privacy Statement at www.truste.org; Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites Certification at www.nabp.net/vipps/intro.asp; Ethical Principles for Offering Internet Services to Consumers at www.hiethics.com; Guidelines for AMA Web Sites at pubs.ama-assn.org/ama_web.html; or eHealth Code of Ethics at www.ihc.net/ethics/ehcode/html.

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