Hot Flash, Cold Cash

"Last April, several hundred black-tie and couture-clad worthies crowded into the ornate ballroom of the Washington Ritz-Carlton for one more dinner on the spring charity circuit," writes Alicia Mundy - namely, the annual gala of the once-respected Society for Women's Health Research (SWHR), a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization whose stated mission is "to improve the health of women through research." In recent years, however, SWHR has become increasingly dependent on corporation contributions from pharmaceutical companies. Last year's gala was underwritten by Wyeth, which makes Prempro, the drug most widely used in hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) for post-menopausal women. The event celebrated HRT, complained one participant, "like they were doing an ad for Wyeth." Worse yet, SWHR has attacked research by the National Institutes for Health showing that Prempro increases women's risk of heart attacks, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer.