Skip to content

Drug Maker Said to Pay Ghostwriters for Journal Articles

December 12, 2008

So throughout the last semester that I was in college I made claims that this sort of thing happened while taking my Senior Health Policy class… everyone claimed I was lying.

December 12, 2008
Drug Maker Said to Pay Ghostwriters for Journal Articles
By DUFF WILSON

Wyeth, the pharmaceutical company, paid ghostwriters to produce medical journal articles favorable to its female hormone replacement therapy Prempro, according to Congressional letters seeking more information about the company’s involvement in medical ghostwriting. At least one article was published even after a federal study found the drug raised the risk of breast cancer.

The letters, sent electronically Friday by Senator Charles E. Grassley, ask Wyeth and DesignWrite, a medical writing firm, to disclose payments related to the preparation of journal articles and the activities of doctors who were recruited to put their names on them for publication.

The letters are part of a continuing investigation by Mr. Grassley, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, into drug industry influence on doctors.

“Any attempt to manipulate the scientific literature, that can in turn mislead doctors to prescribe drugs that may not work and/or cause harm to their patients, is very troubling,” Mr. Grassley, an Iowa Republican, wrote Friday to Wyeth’s chairman and chief executive, Bernard J. Poussot.

Phone calls and e-mail messages to Wyeth and DesignWrite were not immediately returned.

Mr. Grassley’s staff on the Senate Finance Committee released dozens of pages of internal corporate documents gathered from lawsuits showing the central, previously undisclosed role of Wyeth and DesignWrite in creating articles promoting hormone therapy for menopausal women as far back as 1997.

One article was published as an “Editors’ Choice” feature in May 2003 in The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, more than a year after a big federal study called the Women’s Health Initiative linked Wyeth’s Prempro, a combination of estrogen and progestin, to breast cancer. The May 2003 article said there was “no definitive evidence” that progestins cause breast cancer and added that hormone users had a better chance of surviving cancer.

At the peak of hormone therapy, in 2001, more than 126 million prescriptions for such drugs were written for women in the United States. Sales that year, primarily by Wyeth, were $3 billion. But after the federal finding, sales of the hormone drugs plummeted.

Read the rest at the NYTimes…

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/12/business/13wyeth.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: