Are Ghostwriters paid by Drug Companies Controlling Our Medical Treatment

There is a shocking story in the New York Times that shows in equal measures how far drug companies will go to push their agenda, and how necessary the plaintiff bar is to prevent such abuses.

I have helped represent a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer after being prescribed Premarin for decades, so this story was very relevant to me.  Drug companies pushed the publication of 26 articles that downplayed the risk of hormone replacement therapy while emphasizing the benefits.  Wyeth paid a medical communications firm to draft the documents while sales of Premarin and Prempro soared to over $2 billion in 2001. 

In 2002, a federal study led to the discovery that menopausal woman who ingested certain hormones had a heightened risk of invasive breast cancer, stroke, and heart disease.

Many doctors rely on such medical literature to decide when and what to prescribe their patients.  The system is inherently flawed when that information is biased and drafted by drug companies themselves.  This information became public following as a result of discovery in one of the thousands of lawsuits that Wyeth now faces.