Thirty years later, when cancer rates again dropped, Wyeth rolled out the "timing theory"--a campaign that said women don't need less HRT, they need more. "The benefits of HRT may outweigh the risks if treatment is given to younger women, but the risks may outweigh benefits if treatment is started at a later age," wrote a Wyeth-linked doc in a medical journal in 2004.
Despite the 29 percent increase in heart attacks correlated with HRT, clinical trials of whether HRT was "cardioprotective" (per the timing theory) were launched at major US medical centers in the mid 2000s. Seven of the study's investigators were Wyeth-linked, though the trials were said to be privately funded.
And despite the doubled risk of dementia correlated with HRT, a timing theory trial exploring if HRT is "neuroprotective" against Alzheimer's Disease was launched, funded by the National Institute on Aging. The New York Times even got into the act, running a magazine article extolling the timing theory ("The Estrogen Dilemma") which its author now admits omitted the Wyeth/Pfizer links of five "experts" cited.
(Nor are animals spared in Pharma's government-abetted efforts to profiteer on women and menopause. Grisly primate experiments into early hormone use are conducted at Wake Forest, Mount Sinai and other medical centers.)
This week a U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reaffirmed the dangers of long-term HRT use. Neither combined estrogen and progestin (as in Wyeth's Prempro) in women without hysterectomies or estrogen alone (as in drugs like Premarin) in women with hysterectomies are safe on a long term basis, said the panel of independent experts after viewing the literature.
Within hours of the report, the hormone franchise bit back. "It is very important that patients understand what this report does not say: it does not recommend against the use of hormone therapy for the relief of menopausal symptoms," commented the HRT-friendly American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Key word "against."
As a new generation of women approach menopause, will the HRT lessons of the 1970s and 2000's be lost amid Pharma's marketing again? END
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