Written by JANE ALLIN
Chief Research Analyst
With the merger of Pfizer and Wyeth in 2009 a prelude of optimistic hope to end the suffering of the pregnant mares and their foals of the PMU (Pregnant Mare’s Urine) industry quickly sputtered to a stall.
In its infancy, it was soon apparent that Pfizer would go to any extreme to defend its custody of the lucrative HRT market.
That trend was unremitting throughout 2010 and carried with it the abysmal recognition that the world had inherited an even greater evil with the Pfizer/Wyeth union.
Since 1976, Wyeth (now a Division of Pfizer) has been fighting on-going lawsuits related to the use of their Premarin® family of drugs. The year 2010 was no different wherein a glut of lawsuits over Prempro® continues as a consequence of poor science and deceitful practices by Big Pharma.
In December 2009, the New York Times ran an extensive piece entitled “Menopause, as Brought to You by Big Pharma” implicating Wyeth in devising an intricate and deceptive strategy over several decades which convinced the medical profession and patients alike that their HRT derived from conjugated equine estrogens (CEEs) provided unmitigated health benefits, while deflecting attention from the risks of cancer.
In response to the New York Times article, Pfizer issued a news release affirming confidence in its hormone therapy drugs. In spite of their said confidence, Pfizer then filed a motion with a Philadelphia court seeking to curtail publicity surrounding these cases. In particular, Pfizer Inc. asked a judge in Philadelphia to order the removal of an Internet video about its menopause medicines that the company says is misleading and aimed at swaying potential jurors in future trials over the pills.
Although Pfizer was victorious in a number of the on-going cases during 2010, the drug maker has suffered numerous major losses at trial, which have resulted in tens of millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages after several juries concluded that their Wyeth subsidiary endeavored to downplay the risks associated with the medication.
Currently there are about 9,000 lawsuits over Prempro® pending against Pfizer’s Wyeth unit. All of the lawsuits claim that the drug caused plaintiffs to develop breast cancer, and that Wyeth failed to warn patients and doctors of the potential side effects of the hormone therapy derived from conjugated equine estrogens (CEEs) and progestin.
Consider yet again another deceptive marketing tactic that surfaced this year. In some inexplicable development the term “menopausal hormone therapy” (MHT) is now in use as a replacement for the old acronym HRT. Why? Perhaps because the association of HRT with cancer, cardiovascular and other life-threatening risks is so entrenched in women’s minds this new abbreviation will pave the way for a fresh venue in distributing yet more propaganda.
Changing the term will not change the statistics. Simply put, conventional HRT manufactured from conjugated equine estrogens is hazardous to your health and a known carcinogen. HRT is so enveloped in an illusion of benefit as a preventative medicine, Big Pharma and its followers have embellished its attributes beyond its merit to the point of absurdity.
PMU Farming Facilities
In May of 2010, seemingly good news came out of the PMU industry. Giant drug manufacturer Wyeth, a division of Pfizer, announced their intention of downsizing the industry through the cancellation of PMU ranch contracts that would see their numbers dwindle from 64 to as few as 25.
Well, that flicker of light at the end of the tunnel for the pregnant mares and their foals came to a thundering crash with the news posted in an article from The Western Producer entitled ”Horse sense requires tough decisions”.
It seems Pfizer/Wyeth strategy had nothing to do with accountability in pursuit of alternatives that would be safer and more humane.
They merely decided to reposition the PMU industry in foreign countries such as China, Kazakhstan and Poland – countries where horses are likened to livestock and the acceptance of horse slaughter and human consumption of horse and foal meat is commonplace.