Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Con Against Women Continues

by MARTHA ROSENBERG

How serious the 2009/2010 swine flu outbreak was portrayed by academics had a lot to with whether or not they were funded by Big Pharma says an article this week in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health on bmj.com. An analysis of 425 articles between April and July of 2009 showed that the academics who promoted the use of antiviral drugs for swine flu were eight times more likely to have financial links to drug companies. Ties included  grants, honorariums, speakers’ fees, consultancies, advisory roles, employment and company directorship or stock ownership, says the article.

In the US, the value of hormone replacement therapy was also conflated by researchers funded by Big Pharma. At least 50 articles in medical journals that convinced women and doctors of estrogen benefits were ghostwritten by Pfizer/Wyeth’s marketing company. Because of the hired guns, hormone replacement therapy was considered a right of passage for US women approaching menopause. It was supposed to prevent heart disease, dementia and conditions associated with aging–except that it didn’t. In 2002 hormone therapy was found to contribute to breast cancer, heart disease, strokes, blood clots and dementia. Oops. The same thing had happened in the 1970s and 80s when hormone therapy was found to cause endometrial cancer.

The iatrogenic harm caused by hormone therapy was so widespread, when women quit in 2002, the incidence of US breast cancer fell 15 percent among women with estrogen-fed cancer. 14,000 women who were expected to get breast cancer didn’t because they eliminated the source. The occurrence in women of heart disease also fell and ovarian cancer risks returned to normal when women got off the drugs. Few women or their doctors realized it but the same thing had happened with endometrial cancer rates in the 1970’s–they dropped when women quit hormone therapy. (H, Jick et al, “Replacement Estrogens and Endometrial Cancer,” New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 300:218-222 February 1, 1979 Number 5)

My book about US food and drug marketing, safety and regulation, Born with a Junk Food Deficiency, (Random House) reports drug industry promotion of hormone therapy benefits long after its risks were revealed in 2002. In 2010, the New York Times magazine ran a pro-hormone piece called “The Estrogen Dilemma,” by Cynthia Gorney, relying on five Wyeth-linked researchers whose conflicts of interest were not disclosed.

Claudio Soares, Louann Brizendine,Thomas Clarkson, Sanjay Asthana and Roberta Diaz Brinton (Endocrinology, July 2009, 150(7):3186 -3196) were all financially linked to the hormone maker Wyeth, now Pfizer.

When I was interviewed on CSPAN2’s Book TV by Stephanie Beasley of FDA Week last summer, she read a statement from Cynthia Gorney about the omitted financial conflicts of interest. Gorney, who teaches at University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, admitted the missing disclosures, citing disorganization and “deadline” pressure for the errors. What?

The only thing worse than a journalist “forgetting ” to mention financial links of sources in an article that casts the sources’ product in a favorable light is the publication’s publisher allowing the errors to stand. Repeated letters to the New York Times and its public editor resulted in no corrections or clarifications. Chalk one up for Big Pharma writing health news.

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 30, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
Thinking Dangerously in the Age of Normalized Ignorance
Stanley L. Cohen
Israel and Academic Freedom: a Closed Book
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Can Russia Learn From Brazil’s Fate? 
Andrew Levine
A Putrid Election: the Horserace as Farce
Mike Whitney
The Biggest Heist in Human History
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Sick Blue Line
Rob Urie
The Twilight of the Leisure Class
Vijay Prashad
In a Hall of Mirrors: Fear and Dislike at the Polls
Alexander Cockburn
The Man Who Built Clinton World
John Wight
Who Will Save Us From America?
Pepe Escobar
Afghanistan; It’s the Heroin, Stupid
W. T. Whitney
When Women’s Lives Don’t Matter
Howard Lisnoff
What was Missing From The Nation’s Interview with Bernie Sanders
Julian Vigo
“Ooops, I Did It Again”: How the BBC Funnels Stories for Financial Gain
Jeremy Brecher
Dakota Access Pipeline and the Future of American Labor
Binoy Kampmark
Pictures Left Incomplete: MH17 and the Joint Investigation Team
Andrew Kahn
Nader Gave Us Bush? Hillary Could Give Us Trump
Steve Horn
Obama Weakens Endangered Species Act
Dave Lindorff
US Propaganda Campaign to Demonize Russia in Full Gear over One-Sided Dutch/Aussie Report on Flight 17 Downing
John W. Whitehead
Uncomfortable Truths You Won’t Hear From the Presidential Candidates
Ramzy Baroud
Shimon Peres: Israel’s Nuclear Man
Brandon Jordan
The Battle for Mercosur
Murray Dobbin
A Globalization Wake-Up Call
Jesse Ventura
Corrupted Science: the DEA and Marijuana
Richard W. Behan
Installing a President by Force: Hillary Clinton and Our Moribund Democracy
Andrew Stewart
The Democratic Plot to Privatize Social Security
Daniel Borgstrom
On the Streets of Oakland, Expressing Solidarity with Charlotte
Marjorie Cohn
President Obama: ‘Patron’ of the Israeli Occupation
Norman Pollack
The “Self-Hating” Jew: A Critique
David Rosen
The Living Body & the Ecological Crisis
Joseph Natoli
Thoughtcrimes and Stupidspeak: Our Assault Against Words
Ron Jacobs
A Cycle of Death Underscored by Greed and a Lust for Power
Uri Avnery
Abu Mazen’s Balance Sheet
Kim Nicolini
Long Drive Home
Louisa Willcox
Tribes Make History with Signing of Grizzly Bear Treaty
Art Martin
The Matrix Around the Next Bend: Facebook, Augmented Reality and the Podification of the Populace
Andre Vltchek
Failures of the Western Left
Ishmael Reed
Millennialism or Extinctionism?
Frances Madeson
Why It’s Time to Create a Cabinet-Level Dept. of Native Affairs
Laura Finley
Presidential Debate Recommendations
José Negroni
Mass Firings on Broadway Lead Singers to Push Back
Leticia Cortez
Entering the Historical Dissonance Surrounding Desafinados
Robert J. Burrowes
Gandhi: ‘My Life is My Message’
Charles R. Larson
Queen Lear? Deborah Levy’s “Hot Milk”
David Yearsley
Bring on the Nibelungen: If Wagner Scored the Debates
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]