At the outset, I do want to commend Whitehouse Station on helping diabetes patients, and migrane sufferes, with keeping track of their symptoms, reactions and conditions. Merck has introduced a few apps to do these things, gratis, recently. Kudos. Last December, Merck made an "app version" of the Merck Manual available. In June 2010, it released a phone-diary of sorts, to track UV exposure -- under the legacy Schering-Plough Coppertone® trademark, natch'ally.
However. . . as industry veterans, we all know where this is headed -- and InformationWeek overnight caught Merck's CIO admitting exactly what the end game is, here:
. . . .While the disease-related apps are unbranded, the company also is experimenting with mobile apps that blend health information with not-so-subtle pitches for Merck products. Case in point is the Coppertone MyUV Alert, a mobile application released this summer that lets users check the local UV index and offers sun care tips, including reminders to apply sun block. The application can also send Coppertone coupons to customers. According to Merck, the MyUV Alert was downloaded more than 20,000 times in the first two weeks of its release. . . .
FDA needs to step in and get specific about how the regulatory scheme will work -- in the emerging smartphone mobile app ad space.