HRT Maker's PR Activities Raise Concern

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a booklet put out by the Australasian Menopause Society that "suggested [hormone replacement therapy] could prevent heart disease, Alzheimer's and ageing skin, yet ... failed to mention the established side-effect of blood clots, or the accumulating evidence that the drugs were causing heart disease" was drafted by HRT manufacturer, Wyeth, and its PR firm, Hill & Knowlton. HRT's revenues for Wyeth are $3 billion a year. With the release of a major study that reports a particular combination of hormones are twice as likely to lead to dementia for older women, the Herald writes, "there is more concern about Wyeth's behind-the-scenes activities. Scientists who conducted the dementia study are concerned that the company secretly briefed selected medical societies long before today's JAMA paper was out, in order to allow those societies plenty of time to prepare positions for the PR battle that is certain to erupt."