Daily News header

Wyeth is as Contrite as AIG

By

Like Wall Street firms bestowing bonuses weeks after government bailouts, Premarin and Prempro maker Wyeth, recently merged with Pfizer, is unbowed.

Months after a Sen. Charles Grassley-led investigation into its ghostwriting and the unretracted falsified science it planted in medical journals-1,500 documents are found on UCSF's Drug Industry Document Archive http://dida.library.ucsf.edu/ detail the con-the hormone giant is behind new articles in the Journal of Women's Health and Menopause.

And even after the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) found in 2002 that hormone therapy (HT) increases breast cancer by 26 percent, heart attacks by 29 percent, stroke by 41 percent and doubles the risk of blood clots and dementia, Wyeth still thinks it's a neat idea. (see: Iran-Contra scandal; Oliver North.)

HRT
Women "who are reluctant to take combination hormone therapies because of the publicity after WHI," writes Michelle P Warren, MD in the journal Menopause (Volume 16, Number 6) as if cancer were a PR problem, might find "improvement in their quality-of-life scores, including that for sleep" by adding another Wyeth drug, bazedoxifene which just happens to be up for FDA approval. The selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), says the Wyeth speaker and "advisory board member" according to the journal, would replace the "bad guy" progestin which is causing all the problems in hormone therapy. And replace revenues.

In fact bazedoxifene is such a potential pipeline saver, JoAnn V. Pinkerton, MD, also a Wyeth advisory board member according to Medscape, wrote three articles about it this fall and is "teaching" a Continuing Medical Education (CME) course on it called Controversies in Menopausal Hormone Therapy: Evaluating the Evidence with other pharma-funded doctors on Medscape.

CMEs, required by state boards for doctors to keep their licenses, are often undisguised pharma commercials and also being probed by Sen. Grassley. A CME on Medscape funded by a vaccine maker promises participants on completion of the "educational activity" they will be able to "specify the currently recommended age" for the vaccine. Gentlemen-start prescribing! An osteoporosis CME offered by the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine unabashedly tells participates to "lobby your legislators" to restore reimbursement for bone density testing, a lucrative pharma racket.

Wyeth's ghostwriting firm DesignWrite introduced seven "corporate-sponsored" CMEs on postmenopausal hormone therapy in 2004-two years after WHI was discredited-in addition to establishing the $12 million Council on Hormone Education at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health which closed in 2008.

Though the 20 million women who quit hormone therapy since 2002 and pulled down breast cancer rates in the process, didn't do so because it "wasn't cost effective" (or because of the "publicity" as Warren says) a Wyeth-funded article in the Journal of Women's Health (Volume 18, Number 10) discovers that hormone therapy is cost effective.

The article compares the financial and quality of life costs of breast cancer, heart attack, stroke and blood clots linked to HT with the hip, vertebral and wrist fractures and colon cancer HT might prevent and finds hormone therapy is cost effective-at least for Wyeth. "Some of the data used in the model were based on assumptions that introduce uncertainty to the results," the text admits perhaps referring to the fact that when colon cancer is found in women on HT, it tends to be more advanced. And HT's osteoporosis benefits require long term use, which is discouraged.

But the cleverest hormone therapy spin is the emerging proposition that a therapy that causes breast cancer and also makes mammograms harder to read, it is now known, is somehow good.

In a Menopause editorial (Volume 16, Number 6) about a breast density study which included women unwilling to discontinue hormone therapy for one to two months to improve readability of their mammograms, we're told in an ebullient aside "They might have intuitively made the right decision, albeit appearing unwise!" (Exclamation mark the editorial's.)

Even though density improved in hormone quitters their "recall" mammogram rate was not better than non-quitters, says the editorial, implying no immediate benefit to stopping. Of course women who remain on hormone therapy "may face higher mortality from breast cancer in years to come," the editorial concedes but an "existing body of knowledge" indicates it is "good prognosis" cancer.

Continuing the good cancer spin is Wyeth-funded doctor Leon Speroff, MD who taught CMEs at the now discredited Council on Hormone Education and who is also a bazedoxifene fan.

In an article in last year's Menopause, "Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy And The Risk Of Breast Cancer: A Contrary Thought," (Volume 15, No. 2) Speroff submits that even though "more tumors in hormone users are detected" than in non-hormone users, they are better tumors-"more ductal in situ tumors" and "more node-negative." Moreover, since the cancers might pre-exist, hormone therapy, by accelerating them, could actually have a "beneficial impact, leading to earlier detection." A public service-like AIG's.
Martha Rosenberg is a columnist and cartoonist, who writes about public health

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Health News News

The deadline for the realization of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by countries of the world is drawing to a close in 2015. The progress on MDGs might have been with mixed results, but lot of lessons need to be learnt while we frame n
In the year 2000, countries of the world had agreed to meet the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. Numerous consultative processes have been taking place around the world on what should be the development goals post-2015.
Martha Rosenberg investigates a proposal that people watch the animals they eat being killed. Some say it encourages insensitivity and lack of empathy for suffering.
The first estimates of the global burden of TB in children given by the WHO in 2012, suggested that there might be 530,000 children suffering from it. Subsequently there has been an uptake in the research in this field.
We know that nearly one third of the 35 million people living with HIV (PLHIV) have tuberculosis (TB), and 13% of 8.6 million new TB cases every year are HIV positive. Also 1 in 5 HIV associated deaths are due to TB.
Ebola is big news in the U.S. just now because two infected missionary aid workers were brought to Atlanta for treatment and to study the disease. But it is not NEW to Africa. Ebola is very deadly; however, it is just another virus infection.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month



Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site