"Newly unveiled court documents show that ghostwriters paid by a pharmaceutical company played a major role in producing 26 scientific papers backing the use of hormone replacement therapy in women," reports Natasha Singer. "The articles, published in medical journals between 1998 and 2005, emphasized the benefits and de-emphasized the risks" of Premarin and Prempro, two homone drugs produced by the Wyeth pharmaceutical company. The articles, which were ghostwritten for Wyeth by the DesignWrite medical communications firm, created an illusion of consensus in favor of hormone replacement therapy until a large federal study discovered that the drugs created "increased risk of invasive breast cancer, heart disease and stroke." Court documents suggest that the practice of ghostwriting articles for medical journals without disclosing their corporate sponsors "went well beyond the case of Wyeth and hormone therapy, involving numerous drugs from other pharmaceutical companies."
By Sheldon Rampton on August 05, 2009