Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Con Against Women Continues


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 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


Weekend Edition
October 28, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Inside the Invisible Government: War, Propaganda, Clinton & Trump
Andrew Levine
The Hillary Era is Coming: Worry!
Gary Leupp
Seven World-Historical Achievements of the Iraq Invasion of 2003
Paul Street
Standing Rock Water-Protectors Waterboarded While the Cleveland Indians Romped
Stanley L. Cohen
Israel: 1984 Everlasting
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Comfortably Dumb
Michael Brenner
American Foreign Policy in the Post-Trump Era
Luciana Bohne
Crossing the Acheron: Back to Vietnam
Robert Hunziker
The Political Era of Climate Refugees
Stephen Cooper
Alabama’s Last Execution was an Atrocity
T.J. Coles
Confronting China: an Interview with John Pilger
Pete Dolack
Work Harder So Speculators Can Get More
Joyce Nelson
Canadians Launch Constitutional Challenge Against CETA
John Laforge
US Uranium Weapons Have Been Used in Syria
Paul Edwards
The Vision Thing ’16
Arshad Khan
Hillary, Trump and Sartre: How Existentialism Disrobes the Major Presidential Candidates
Peter Lee
It’s ON! Between Duterte and America
Chris Zinda
The Bundy Acquittal: Tazing of #oregonstandoff
Norman Pollack
America at the Crossroads: Abrogation of Democracy
Joseph Grosso
Starchitects in the City: Vanity Fair and Gentrification
Patrick Carr
Economic Racial Disparity in North Carolina
David Swanson
Public vs. Media on War
Chris Gilbert
Demo Derby in Venezuela: The Left’s New Freewheeling Politics
Ira Helfand
Nukes and the UN: a Historic Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons
Brian Cloughley
The US, NATO and the Pope
Binoy Kampmark
Nobel Confusion: Ramos-Horta, Trump and World Disorder
Stephen Cooper
Alabama’s Last Execution Was an Atrocity
Sam Albert
Kids on Their Own in Calais: the Tip of an Iceberg-Cold World
Binoy Kampmark
Nobel Confusion: Ramos-Horta, Trump and World Disorder
Russell Mokhiber
Lucifer’s Banker: Bradley Birkenfeld on Corporate Crime in America
Ron Jacobs
Death to the Fascist Insect! The SLA and the Cops
Cesar Chelala
Embargo on Cuba is an Embarrassment for the United States
Jack Smith
And the Winner Is….
Ken Knabb
Beyond Voting: the Limits of Electoral Politics
Matt Peppe
An Alternate Narrative on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
Uri Avnery
The Israeli Trumpess
James Rothenberg
Water Under the Bridge
Louis Yako
Remembering Rasul Gamzatov: The Poet of the People
Jonathan H. Martin
When Nobody Returns: Palestinians Show They are People, Too
Louis Proyect
The Outsider-Insider: Isaac Babel’s Big Mistake
Simon Jones
The Human Lacunae in Ken Loach’s “I, Daniel Blake”
Martin Billheimer
Now and Then, Ancient Sorceries
Charles R. Larson
Review: Brit Bennett’s “The Mothers”
David Yearsley
Bach on the Election
October 27, 2016
Paul Street
An Identity-Politicized Election and World Series Lakefront Liberals Can Love