Premarin regrets


Thanks to my late father, a drug made from animal waste is the most widely prescribed drug in the world today.

My father, Dr. Robert A. Wilson, penned the influential 1960s book “Feminine Forever,” which promoted and popularized the idea of menopause as a disease. Menopause is a “living decay,” he wrote, which often destroys a woman’s “character as well as her health.” He added, “The unpalatable truth must be faced that all postmenopausal woman are castrates. A man remains a man until the very end. The situation with a woman is very different. Her ovaries become inadequate relatively early in life. She is the only mammal who cannot reproduce after middle age.”

Excerpt from ad (click to enlarge):

The physician who puts a woman on 'Premarin' when she is suffering from the menopause usually makes her pleasant to live with once again.

It is no easy thing for a man to take the stings and barbs of business life, then to come home to the turmoil of a woman 'going through the change of life'. If she is not on 'Premarin,' that is.

My father’s solution: abolish menopause altogether, through the use of estrogen drugs, and woman will stay “feminine forever.” The idea took. One hundred thousand copies of “Feminine Forever” were sold in its first seven months of publication, and in the late 1960s and early 1970s, newspapers and women’s magazines ran hundreds of articles promoting estrogen use. Doctors across the country jumped on the bandwagon, prescribing estrogen drugs for millions of women. Unfortunately, the estrogen drug that is most widely prescribed, Wyeth-Ayerst’s Premarin, has a secret ingredient that my father had no trouble accepting: animal suffering.

Premarin is made from the estrogen-rich urine of pregnant horses. To collect the urine, farmers in the United States and Canada confine some 75,000 mares to tiny stalls for six months at a stretch. Some of the horses receive exercise every few weeks, but most don’t see the light of day for months. The mares must also wear cumbersome urine-collection bags which chafe their legs and prevent them from ever lying down comfortably.

Farmers are encouraged to limit horses access to water so that their urine will yield more concentrated estrogens. A veterinarian who works on pregnant mares’ urine (PMU) farms told inspectors from the United States Department of Agriculture that this practice can cause mares to suffer from renal and liver problems.”

The 70,000 foals born on PMU farms every year fare little better than their mothers. Some are used to replace exhausted mares – many of whom are forced to stand on the “pee line” for up to 20 years! But most of the foals are sent to feedlots where they are fattened, then slaughtered for meat. Claude Bouvry, Canada’s leading horsemeat exporter, says the PMU industry is his “biggest source of supply.” Without the overseas demand for horsemeat, Bouvry says, “there would be no market for the young horses procured by [PMU] mares.”

These horses do not have to die. Synthetic and plant-based estrogen drugs are readily available, and many physicians prefer them to Premarin. Small wonder: The Food and Drug Administration cautions that “the urinary estrogen excretion by pregnant mares is widely variable.” Studies have shown that the amount of estradiol – one of the active hormones in Premarin – can vary by almost 400 percent from one batch to the next. Of even more concern, some studies suggest that long-term treatment with Premarin significantly increases breast cancer risk.

Sadly, my father’s contribution to medical science resulted in a prescription for animal cruelty. I encourage woman of all ages to learn more about Premarin and its many alternatives.

4 thoughts on “Premarin regrets”

  1. I appreciate that the factor of animal cruelty was never considered by your father, and this being a horse themed blog, this is invaluable information. Being your fathers son and calling out his oversight on the mistreatment of animals. However as a woman who has seen improved moods using these products for a short time it’s shocking to see how even a medical doctor didn’t validate this perfectly normal stage in a woman’s life cycle. The unspoken mysoginistic expectation that it’s worth abusing animal to not have to be take nagging from women absolutely shocks me, to keep with the horse themed blog, sounds like a stinking mound of horse waste the kind that doesn’t contain estrogen. Great illustrated ad says so much without having to say a word! Now women have good paying jobs, and estrogen is more for bone density and a good sleep than as a mood brighter for the emotionally illiterate man you had to marry because career options other than motherhood are scarce. Nice post. Your dads legacy didn’t have much horse sense but you do.


  2. This article has opened my eyes about HRT. I had a hysterectomy (ovaries and all) about 6 mos. ago and have been wondering if I should go on HRT. After learning about this practice, I have made up my mind. No way will I add to the horror that these poor horses are subjected to. Thank you for the information.


  3. When i was a teenager i rode at a stable near Montreal. in several small standing stalls were horses wearing weird harnesses under their tails…never lying down, never going out, never doing anything but standing there. No one would give me a good answer as to what was going on, until a friend from the riding club told me they were collecting urine from the mares (who were all pregnant) for some form of medicine. Just after that, we moved barns and i never saw the mares again and being 14 at the time and unaware of cruelty issues and premarin, i did not do anything about it. i wish i had known then what i do now…..the use of mares urine for hormone replacement therapy (premarin) is what stopped me from taking it when i got to the point where i needed it, and i have been trying to influence the other women in my life to use alternatives. that there are alternatives that many doctors prefer, should halt this cruelty, but it will take all of us spreading the word, over and over and over again, that it is cruel, that it is unecessary and that the foals born to these mares are dealt with extremely badly as well. Ron Wilson should be highly commended for speaking out about his fathers influence on menopause ‘the dreaded disease’ and for talking about the cruelty resulting in the publication of the book ‘Feminine Forever”.


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