How Wyeth Bought Science that Sells

According to internal documents, the pharmaceutical company Wyeth "paid ghostwriters to produce medical journal articles favorable to its female hormone replacement therapy Prempro." As early as 1997, Wyeth paid the "medical writing firm" DesignWrite to publish favorable journal articles about Prempro under academics' names. "Company executives came up with ideas" for the articles, "titled them, drafted outlines, paid writers to draft the manuscripts, recruited academic authors and identified publications to run the articles -- all without disclosing the companies' roles to journal editors or readers." Wyeth previously claimed that authors had "played significant roles" in journal articles. The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology published one ghostwritten article in May 2003, a year after Wyeth's Prempro was linked to breast cancer (which recent findings confirmed). The ghostwritten article, published under the name of Australian professor John Eden, claimed there was "no definitive evidence" linking hormone therapy to cancer. Just before the federal study linking Prempro to cancer was published, a Wyeth executive asked DesignWrite "to increase the number of positive journal articles" on Premarin, another Wyeth hormone replacement drug.