BioIdentical Hormones Attacked Again
Article in Huffington Post by SWHR.
Just when things have calmed down, the Drug Industry opens a new salvo in its war against bioidentical hormones, perceived as unfairly stealing market share from their flaghip hormone pill, Prempro, a synthetic chemical currently in litigation for causing cancer and heart disease.
This time the attack appeared in the Huffington Post, with an article by Phyllis Greenberger, CEO of Society for Women’s Health Research, an industry sponsored mouthpiece which funnels money from the drug industry to doctors for research grants, speaking engagements, meetings and even gala celebrations. Upper left image courtesy of Huffington Post, Phyllis Greenberger,and SWHR.
A 2003 expose by journalist Alicia Mundy in the Washington Monthly spills the beans on the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR). Here is a quote from Alicia Mundy’s 2003 article:
“We do know the companies that sit on the (SWHR) society’s 40-member “corporate advisory board,” created since Greenberger took over. They include Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, and Wyeth–all of which market popular women’s drugs. “
Serving Your Corporate Master
Although I am grateful to Phyllis Grenberger for giving me a topic to write about, I must confess astonishment with such a twisted and distorted collection of untruths, and deception nonsense all in one place. Apparently, having the drug industry as one’s corporate master requires regurgitation of old marketing propaganda, even if it doesn’t make any sense. Even to the most casual observer, this Huffing Post piece is a blatant attempt to discredit bioidentical hormones using fallacies, innuendo, and misinformtion. Much of this material was covered in my previous book, Bioidentical Hormones 101.
Let’s Take A Look At the Huff Post Article
The author, Phyllis Greenberger M.S.W., states, “Bioidentical Hormones are not FDA approved.”
This is blatantly incorrect. There are twenty or so FDA approved bioidentical hormone preparations widely available at corner drug stores. Here are a few examples: Vivelle-Dot, Estrace, Climara, Prometrium, Androgel, etc.
The author Phyllis Greenberger states: “Bioidentical Hormones made by compounding pharmacies are Non-FDA approved.”
This is misleading and deceptive. Compounding pharmacies are regulated at the state level, and do not fall under FDA jurisdiction. So, of course compounding is not FDA approved. No FDA approval is required or even desired. Your local hospital pharmacy is a compounding pharmacy that makes up life-saving medication such as IV antibiotics with no FDA oversight or approval. The FDA approval process is designed for manufacturer capsules and tablets, and is impractical and unnecessary for compounded medications prepared to order by hand. Are we going to reject IV antibiotics from the hospital pharmacy because these are non-FDA approved compounded medication? Of course not. Compounding is here to stay.
66 Cases of Endometrial Cancer on Prempro
The author, Phyllis Greenberger brings up a 2007 report of three cases of endometrial cancer in women on bioidentical hormones, implying that synthetic PremPro prevents endometrial cancer wheras biodentical hormones do not. This is a blatant lie. Prempro contains a synthetic progestin which reduces the incidence of endometrial cancer. However, this is not reduced to zero. The author conveniently neglected to mention the 66 cases of endometrial cancer in Prempro treated women.as reported in the Women’s Health Initiative Study. Dr. Rowan T. Chlebowski reported on the WHI data after 13.2 years of follow-up. He said there were 66 endometrial cancers among women given PremPro (premarin and medroxyprogesterone). There were 95 cases of endometrial cancer in the placebo group.
A “Bad Drug” in Litigation ?
One easy way to determine if you are dealing with a “bad drug” is to ask the question: Is this drug in litigation ? For Prempro and synthetic “FDA approved” women’s hormones, the answer is yes, Prempro has been in litigation for years now. Pfizer, the company that bought Wyeth, has paid almost a billion dollars to settle 6,000 lawsuits by women who claimed the drug caused their breast cancer. This information should have been included, yet was conveniently omitted from the Huffington Post article by Phyllis Greenberger.
A Quote from June 19, 2012 Bloomberg News:
June 19 (Bloomberg) by Jef Feeley — Pfizer Inc. has paid $896 million to resolve about 60 percent of the cases alleging its menopause drugs caused cancer in women. Pfizer has now settled about 6,000 lawsuits that claim Prempro and other hormone-replacement drugs caused breast cancer, and it has set aside an additional $330 million to resolve the remaining 4,000 suits, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The reserve means New York-based Pfizer has committed more than $1.2 billion to resolving claims that its Wyeth and Pharmacia & Upjohn units failed to properly warn women about the menopause drugs’ health risk. Based on the May 10 filing, the company is paying an average of about $150,000 a case.
The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study was terminated early in 2002, because the data showed increased risk of breast cancer and heart disease in the synthetic hormone treated group given Prempro. This information prompted intelligent women to abandon synthetic hormones. Instead they switched to bioidentical hormones, same as estrogen and progesterone produced by the ovary. The massive switch to bioidentical hormones produced an immediate decline in breast cancer rates of about nine per cent.(9,10) Left image: Abandoning the Sinking Ship courtesy of wikimedia commons.
Wake up From the Synthetic Hormone Nightmare
It is time to awaken from the nightmare of synthetic hormones, known for decades to cause cancer and heart disease. The drug industry can spin, and deceive us with misinformation and propaganda, however, the truth is clearly seen. Synthetic hormones remain monsters that should be avoided. Sadly, nowhere in this Huffington Post article was this important message stated.
Link to Op Ed News Version of this article.
Jeffrey Dach MD
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Hormone therapy’s protection against endometrial cancer persists in Women’s Health Initiative follow-up study
After a median of 13.2 years’ follow-up, there were 35% fewer endometrial cancers among women given combined estrogen and progestin vs. placebo (hazard ratio, 0.65; P = .007). A total of 66 women treated with the hormone therapy (HT) and 95 given placebo had developed endometrial cancer, yielding annual incidences of 0.06% and 0.10%, respectively.
“We do not feel that this effect on endometrial cancer changes the overall balance of risk and benefit of estrogen plus progestin,” Dr. Rowan T. Chlebowski stated at the multidisciplinary European cancer congresses.
The Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) is a Washington, DC nonprofit organization which claims that its “sole mission is to improve the health of women through research.” However, it has received substantial funding from the Wyeth-Ayerst drug company, and rose to Wyeth’s defense when research showed that Wyeth’s hormone replacement therapy hurts women.
In July 2002, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that it was abandoning its study of the effects of Prempro, Wyeth’s market-leading hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drug. NIH had originally planned an eight-year trial of the drug, but it only took five years to accumulate conclusive evidence of increased health damage to women who use the drug over time. The announcement was reported with shock in media outlets around the world, which had long been accustomed to glowing reports of HRT. Women’s health and consumer groups welcomed the decision, but the SWHR condemned the NIH decision and distributed op-eds and letters to newspapers around the country. Reporting in Washington Monthly, Alicia Mundy noted that Wyeth and other drug companies are represented on the group’s corporate advisory board, but details of the group’s funding remain obscure. “Our attorney says it is confidential information that we don’t distribute,” Mundy was told when she inquired.
The SWHR website notes, however, that Wyeth has been a corporate sponsor of its annual fundraising ball at the Washington Ritz-Carlton. In fact, Wyeth underwrote the entire glitzy affair, which promoted Prempro so enthusiastically that one attendee complained it was “like they were doing an ad for Wyeth.”
Phyllis Greenberger, MSW, is the president and CEO of the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR®), a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., widely recognized as the thought leader in research on biological differences in disease, and dedicated to transforming women’s health through science, advocacy and education. Greenberger is the first and only president and CEO of SWHR since its founding in 1990. Through her leadership, dedication and promotion of women’s health, sex differences is now widely known and recognized as a critical factor in women’s health.
Hot Flash, Cold Cash, How a once-respected women’s group went through The Change–with the help of drug industry money.By Alicia Mundy
Clark, Jocalyn. “A Hot Flush for Big Pharma.” BMJ : British Medical Journal 327.7411 (2003): 400.
The Society/Pfizer Women’s Health Research Scholars Grants for Faculty Development in Women’s Health Program represents the mutual commitment of the Society for Women’s Health Research and Pfizer to the scientific and academic advancement of M.D. or D.O. medical school faculty members interested in advancing the science of women’s health. The Scholars Grants Program provides research and training opportunities for physician researchers who wish to pursue basic study in biologic mechanisms of diseases that affect women.
(9) http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsr070105 The Decrease in Breast-Cancer Incidence in 2003 in the United States. Peter M. Ravdin, Ph.D., M.D et al. N Engl J Med 2007; 356:1670-1674 April 19, 2007. A comparison of incidence rates in 2001 with those in 2004 (omitting the years in which the incidence was changing) showed that the decrease in annual age-adjusted incidence was 8.6% .
(10) http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2010/09/23/jnci.djq345.abstract Breast Cancer Incidence and Hormone Replacement Therapy in Canada by Prithwish De, C. Ineke Neutel, Ivo Olivotto and Howard Morrison. JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst (2010) . This drop occurred concurrently with a 9.6% decline in the incidence rate of breast cancer
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