A recent conference in Madrid called (The Menopause Society’s) Global Summit on “The” Menopause Related Issues, brought together doctors and researchers employed by the pharmaceutical companies to present their sponsored “research” in order to create a strategy on how to convince doctors, consumers and journalists that HRT is not really that bad for you. Funny thing is, the main sponsors of this event, all sell HRT. They have been suffering, poor souls, since a 2002, none sponsored, study, provided proof that HRT caused everything from heart failure to cancer.
The little pow-wow however proved successful since today, you can read about this misinformation/promotional strategy/free advertising in your local Canadian Newspaper. It amazes me that journalists report these studies and fail to mention that they are completely provided to you by the business that has the most to gain. It would be like McDonalds getting together with Burger King and Wendy’s, paying a bunch of nutritionists to do some research that reveals that obesity isn’t that bad for you and really you should eat more meat than fruit because protein makes you strong and then getting that information published as a new nutritional guideline from new “research”.
My question is this: what makes these pharmaceutical industry sponsored doctors and reps any less guilty than cocaine dealers? We know cocaine is bad for you. We don’t want coke dealers targeting the less advantaged or the less educated or the vulnerable in the streets. We know cocaine can cause increased blood pressure and heart failure so we make it illegal to sell it. Funny thing is: HRT also causes increased blood pressure and can lead to heart failure. Gee, do we really think it is okay that the richest companies in the world, big pharma, are out there creating their own results and buying medical expertise and then pimping out a known dangerous drug to women?
All of the health regulatory bodies agree that HRT is dangerous. In fact, articles have been written recently hailing the cessation of HRT with a huge decrease in breast cancer. But now, to line the already overflowing pockets of big pharma, they want to sell you a drug that is bad for you.
Now 1) there is no doubt that for some women the risks of HRT are outweighed by other symptoms that they may face in menopause. And some educated doctors may recommend hormones to help with the transition for some patients. But these doctors and patients do not need advertising from the Canadian press or from the companies that are after profit, to come to this decision.
And 2) Yes some drugs are good. I take ibuprofen if I have a headache. I am not against drugs and medicine and the potential that one day we will have medicines for some of the biggest killers of our population. But, we cannot support the pharmaceutical industry as it stands. It is a profit hungry machine. It thrives on the free market model and does everything in the name of profit. But it is not selling cars or clothes or juice. They are selling and buying our health. And health should not be for sale.
My biggest peeve here however, is that advertising is presented as new health information. It is sick and wrong. And maybe if some of our health reports, and even sections in the Canadian health press were not also sponsored by Big Pharma, we wouldn’t have to read it.
Know the facts, stay off the estrogen unless it’s absolutely crucial and don’t trust the hand that sells you the cradle.