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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Writers paid to promote hormone therapy by Wyeth


US researchers said this Tuesday that drug-maker Wyeth took ghostwriters to play up the benefits and downplay the harm of hormone replacement therapy in articles which were published in medical journals.

Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman from the University of Georgetown Medical Center in Washington and colleagues analyzed dozens of ghostwritten reviews which were published in medical journals and journal supplements. Most of them utilized documents from judicial trials.

The company said, “Even with her critical perspective, she could not establish that there were inaccuracies in any of the peer-reviewed articles, or that their authors relinquished control over their work.”

They informed that Wyeth paid a medical communication company called DesignWrite $25,000 to ghostwrite clinical study articles. These also included four testing low-dose Prempro which is the company’s combination estrogen-progestin therapy.

They said that the articles were meant to mitigate concerns that hormone replacement therapy increases the risk of breast cancer and to support the baseless idea that the drugs offer some protection against heart disease.

The sales of Wyeth’s Prempro have reduced by about 50 percent since the year 2001 to $1billion annually.

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