Recent Analysis Reveals Medical Ghostwriting Suppressed Links Between Synthetic Hormones and Breast Cancer

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Pharmaceutical giant Wyeth implicated for paying medical ghostwriters.

I am gratified that the truth may finally be coming to light

A recent analysis published in the Public Library of Science journal, PLoS Medicine, implicates pharmaceutical giant Wyeth of paying medical ghostwriters to suppress clinical evidence linking the use of synthetic hormone drugs to an increased risk of breast cancer. The analysis by Dr. Adriane J. Fugh-Berman of Georgetown University Medical Center implies that Wyeth, now owned by Pfizer, used ghostwriters to insert favorable messages into articles published in medical journals, ultimately downplaying the dangerous health risks of synthetic hormones. The documents analyzed are part of litigation by 14,000 women who claim their use of synthetic hormones led to their development of breast cancer.

“I am gratified that the truth may finally be coming to light,” said C.W. Randolph, Jr., M.D., R.Ph., “Multiple clinical studies have linked long-term use of synthetic hormones, such as the aforementioned, to an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and other health problems. In contrast, multiple studies have linked individualized dosing of compounded bioidentical (natural) hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) to health benefits such as a reduced risk for breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, as well as improved brain and nervous system function and quality of life.”

Even after the 2002 National Institutes of Health, Women’s Health Initiative Trial (WHI) irrefutably established that synthetic hormones (such as the popularly prescribed Premarin family of products) caused the risk of breast cancer to increase 26 percent, physicians continued to prescribe these drugs putting millions of women’s lives in jeopardy. Why? “Because they were misled by pharmaceutical-sponsored medical studies skewing the facts,” claims Randolph.

According to Dr. Randolph, a nationally recognized medical expert in the field of BHRT, this type of evidence has existed for decades.

As early as 1941, Edgar Allen, M.D., Chair of Yale Medical School Anatomy Department, published an article in the medical journal Cancer Research on the propensity of estrogen to cause cancer in animals. Since that time, the output of medical research and clinical studies continued to mount until, in 2001, representatives from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) voted 8-1 to add synthetic estrogen to the nation’s list of cancer-causing agents.

Recent revelations that Wyeth directed DesignWrite medical ghostwriters to deliberately deemphasize the links between synthetic hormone replacement therapies and breast cancer in published medical journals are bringing experts in the field of BHRT to answer the question of the purpose for manipulating this data.

“There is big money at stake,” says Randolph. “Prior to the WHI findings being made public in 2002, the Premarin-family of products was a 2.2 billion dollar pipeline.”

Since 2002, sales for Wyeth’s Premarin family of products have plummeted 50 percent, and have continued to decline over the last several years.

Research in the U.S. and around the world supports BHRT as the treatment of choice for menopausal symptoms and conditions of hormone imbalance. Studies conducted by Joel Hargrove, M.D. at Vanderbilt Medical University and Abraham Morgentaler, M.D. at Harvard University have found BHRT to be both safe and effective.

“The sad reality is that when marketing gets ahead of medical science, women’s lives are put at risk,” says Randolph.

Fournier A, Berrino F, Clavel-Chapelon F. Unequal risks for breast cancer associated with different hormone replacement therapies: results from the E3N cohort study. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2008 Jan:107(1):103-111.

Hargrove JT, Maxson WS, Wentz AC, Burnett LS. Menopausal hormone replacement therapy with continuous daily oral micronized estradiol and progesterone. Obstet Gynecol. 1989 Apr;73(4):606-12.

Holtorf K. The Bioidentical Hormone Debate: Are Bioidentical Hormones (Estradiol, Estriol, and Progesterone) Safer or More Efficacious than Commonly Used Synthetic Versions in Hormone Replacement Therapy? Postgrad Med 2009;121(1):1-13.

James G, Randolph CW. From Hormone Hell to Hormone Well. Deerfield Beach: Health Communications Inc., 2009.

Morgentaler A. Testosterone for Life. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009.


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