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Wyeth Paid for Articles Promoting Use of Company’s Hormone-Replacement Drugs

Posted Aug 6, 2009 5:25 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Evidence unsealed last month in a complex federal case against a drug manufacturer shows that Wyeth paid for at least 40 ghostwritten articles in medical journals promoting the use of replacement hormones in menopausal women.

The practice of publishing ghostwritten articles is controversial, because bioethicists say it obscures the connection between the drug manufacturer's marketing efforts and a seemingly objective medical journal article written by a third party, explains Bloomberg.

However, the president of a consulting company paid as much as $25,000 per article for Wyeth says it did nothing wrong by helping to prepare medical journal reviews of the company's menopause drugs.

The authors who put their names on the completed articles had “complete editorial control over the scientific and medical content,” says Michael Platt of DesignWrite in a statement e-mailed to Bloomberg. “All articles are subject to a rigorous peer-review process by experts who are chosen independently by each journal.”

A Wyeth spokesman says the articles were scientifically accurate, describes the way in which they were prepared as a routine practice among pharmaceutical companies, the New York Times reported.

Some 8,000 plaintiffs are suing Wyeth in a federal case that has been consolidated in Arkansas, contending that they suffered problems as a result of taking hormone-replacement drugs.

Related earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Merck Ghostwriters Behind Favorable Vioxx Articles"

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