By Catherine Arnst

Social networks like PatientsLikeMe let people take charge of their own care–changing the nature of drug research and the practice of medicine

“…Medicine has always been a top-down affair. Doctors, drug companies, regulators, and researchers are the expert gate-keepers, telling patients what they need to know. Even their own medical records are locked away to protect their privacy. So what would happen if critically ill patients joined together, obtained their personal information, and made it public?

“Just such a real-world experiment is under way at a Web-based social network started by the company PatientsLikeMe,” a CommerceNet portfolio company.

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