Rush to hormone-replacement therapy fueled by industry-funded “science”

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Did you catch the front-page story in yesterday’s New York Times
chronicling how, from 1998 to 2005, pharmaceutical giant Wyeth paid
ghostwriters to produce scientific papers that “emphasized the benefits and
de-emphasized the risks” of hormone-replacement therapyIStock_000003885695XSmall ?

You may recall that
several years back, hundreds of thousands of menopausal women came off the very
popular HRT after researchers documented a link between the hormone drugs and
rising incidences of breast cancer (as well as heart disease, stroke and blood
clots) among women being treated with HRT.

This should not have come as a complete surprise: the International
Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has listed estrogens as known human
carcinogens since 1987, and their component hormones since 1976. But what’s
more troubling is that we now know that the rush to HRT was based not so much
on a lack of information of the risks, but on a misinformation campaign funded
the makers of the HRT drugs

Medical journals have some soul-searching to do. Why is it that they
did not (and in most cases still do not) require of their contributors full
disclosure of conflicts of interest? Our health, even our very lives, hang in
the balance.

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