Wyeth-funded course promoted hormone therapy

John Fauber and Susanne Rust of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel continue the paper’s examination of the influence that drug companies and device manufacturers have on patient care with a story about a University of Wisconsin-Madison course funded entirely by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.

The course promoted hormone therapy and started just months after a clinical trial was ended early because researchers found that women who took hormone therapy drugs were at increased risk for breast cancer, heart disease, stroke and blood clots.

For six years, “thousands of doctors from around the country took the online course that was funded entirely by a $12 million grant from Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, which makes the hormone therapy drugs used in the study, Prempro and Premarin.”

The paper reports that “Even after the course was no longer available, the Web site and course material remained on the Internet, accessible to consumers and doctors. The university dropped the site Jan. 15, one day after the Journal Sentinel began questioning UW officials about the propriety of the program.”

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