Ghost Writers Pushed Hormone Therapy in Medical Journals

I know. What a shocker. Newly revealed court documents show Wyeth pharmaceuticals paid a “medical communications” company to write papers supporting its hormone drug therapy.

The articles, published in medical journals between 1998 and 2005, emphasized the benefits and de-emphasized the risks of taking hormones to protect against maladies like aging skin, heart disease and dementia. That supposed medical consensus benefited Wyeth, the pharmaceutical company that paid a medical communications firm to draft the papers, as sales of its hormone drugs, called Premarin and Prempro, soared to nearly $2 billion in 2001.

But the seeming consensus fell apart in 2002 when a huge federal study on hormone therapy was stopped after researchers found that menopausal women who took certain hormones had an increased risk of invasive breast cancer, heart disease and stroke. A later study found that hormones increased the risk of dementia in older patients.

The ghostwritten papers were typically review articles, in which an author weighs a large body of medical research and offers a bottom-line judgment about how to treat a particular ailment. The articles appeared in 18 medical journals, including The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and The International Journal of Cardiology.

Are you really that surprised? Honestly, I’ve always figured this was going on. Reminds me of all the flap surrounding Dr. Robert Jarvik—pioneer of the artificial heart—hocking Lipitor pills.

Via The New York Times.

Image credit: Dirty Bunny

Marilyn is Losing Weight and Feeling Great...

 

America is overweight and unhealthy, so it’s refreshing too see people defy the odds, like Emily. She slimmed down, and today she’s a totally different person. Trulie too! She’s healthier than ever. Now check out Marilyn, she’s a pharmaceutical representative who’s amazed by Dr. Fuhrman’s program:

I just wanted to tell you that I've been eating primarily an Eat To Live diet for the last seven months, with a lot of it being raw fruits and veggies. I have personally dropped 10 pounds and feel great. I really didn't need to lose this weight. But I love it!

I am 5 foot 2 inches and now weigh 112 pounds. That being said I work out almost everyday so I am also a lot of muscle. Recently my HDL increased substantially as well which is truly amazing. My fiancé has lost over 30 pounds. I am so proud of him! I also find your way of practicing medicine ideal.

I am a pharmaceutical representative and promote a diabetic medicine. It is interesting, to me, the correlation between diabetes and eating. You would also be amazed at the offices I call on. When I order healthy, vegetarian lunches for offices, they complain that it's not some deep fried chicken choice…continue reading.

Doctors to Disclose Industry Ties...

Last year, The Los Angeles Times reported pharmaceutical companies spend $19 billion a year to woo doctors, dwarfing the $5 million spent on direct advertising to consumers. Some claim this interferes with the doctor-patient relationship. It might be. In 2006, U.S. customers bought $279-billion worth of prescription medications and 80% of that was brand-name products.

This sort of thing happens a lot. Like when Atkins funds a study saying Atkins is good for you. But the Cleveland Clinic is bucking the trend. The hospital has announced plans to disclose business relationships that any of its 1,800 staff doctors and scientists have with drug companies and device-makers, the first prominent medical center to do so; The New York Times investigates.