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Wyeth

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In these tough economic times, it might seem crazy to turn down a paycheck. But what if that paycheck has complicated strings attached?

 

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Journalist Liz Scherer talks with Antidote blogger William Heisel about why we medicalize menopause and other life transitions in a wide-ranging conversation about media coverage of women's health.

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William Heisel interviews health writer Liz Scherer about the latest coverage of the Women's Health Initiative study on hormone replacement therapy and her tips for covering women's health.

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Fishing for a health fraud lawsuit under the False Claims Act can be complicated if you just have a suspicion that something funny is going on. Here are some tips for finding these cases in your state.

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Adriane Fugh-Berman has been leading the charge against the use of drug company-sponsored ghostwriters to craft scientific articles for publication in seemingly legitimate journals. She has been a paid expert witness on behalf of plaintiffs in the litigation over hormone replacement therapy drugs, and she directs PharmedOut, a project at Georgetown University that aims to scrub industry influence from medical training.

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In October, Antidote reported that Dr. John Eden, a well-respected Australian hormone researcher and the founder and director of the Sydney Menopause Centre, had second thoughts about his participation in a review article about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) that was written with the help of pharmaceutical giant Wyeth.

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Freelance journalist Martha Rosenberg recently made an interesting comparison between embattled drug giant Wyeth and former insurance giant AIG. The latter famously handed out massive bonuses and planned lavish company retreats at a time when the company was receiving billions in federal bailout funds.

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In June 2002, Dr. David F. Archer had a paper published under his name that reassured women everywhere that they could take antibiotics and birth control pills at the same time and not worry about pregnancy. The article was music to the ears of executives at Wyeth, the drug company giant.

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It’s not as seductive as a candlelit bedroom.

But a dinner with medical colleagues after a board meeting can exert a powerful a pull on talented scientists flirting with the drug industry. Rarely one-on-ones, these dinners are usually threesomes:

1. The seducer: a representative for a medical communications company that has been hired by a drug company to help market a particular product or disease in need of new cures being cooked up by the company.

2. The object of seduction: a researcher with known expertise in the company’s target area.

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Putting together a scientific research paper should be a different process than building a Ford Taurus or making a Big Mac.

For the drug companies and their ghostwriting partners, it isn’t.

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