Pharma Ghostwriters Penned Medical Papers on HRT

Drug firms may play bigger role than thought in medical lit
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2009 7:20 AM CDT
Pharma Ghostwriters Penned Medical Papers on HRT
Jeffrey Kindler, left, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, and Bernard Poussot, president, chairman and CEO of Wyeth, attend a news conference Monday, Jan. 26, 2009 in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Ghostwriters funded by a drug firm were deeply involved in writing papers supporting therapies that helped the firm’s sales boom, court papers show. The 26 scientific papers, published in medical journals from 1998 to 2005, highlighted the benefits of hormone replacement therapy over the risks, a boon to Wyeth, which paid the writers. The news hints at the extent to which drug firms may pull strings in medical literature, the New York Times reports.

Researchers later found that HRT may increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and dementia in some patients. The court papers show Wyeth paying a medical writing firm to develop articles and get doctors to sign off as authors despite minimal roles in the pieces. A Wyeth rep said drug firms often use such firms to help authors; the material, he said, was valid.
(Read more pharma stories.)

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