Category Archives: Premarin Horses

Breast cancer, menopause and yes, rhubarb


October is National Breast Cancer Month. What better opportunity to remind women of the dangers posed by the use of HRT and the inherent cruelty foisted upon the innocent mares and their foals by the PMU industry?

Despite advances in medical technology over the years, Pfizer continues to promote their conjugated equine estrogen drugs (e.g. Premarin, Prempro, Duavee) based on antiquated science – science that has since been proven to be flawed.

In fact, the findings of the WHI study was listed as one of the top ten medical advances of the decade in an article published in 2009; “The Top 10 Medical Advances of the Decade: From genome to hormones, doctors pick the top medical advances of the decade.” [1]

“And then the world changed, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, which was sponsoring a placebo-controlled trial of hormone replacement therapy in more than 161,000 healthy women, announced that it was shutting down the study because HRT increased the risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer.

It was the “oops” heard round the world.” [2]

Why are these drugs still here 14 years after the fact? Why haven’t the FDA and other drug agencies around the world pulled these from the market?

Time and again the antagonistic effects of conjugated equine estrogens have proven to be potent carcinogens that give rise to a variety of cancers and other life-threatening diseases, breast cancer included.

The FDA and other governing bodies such as the European Commission in the EU continue to endorse these drugs as safe therapies for women of menopausal and post-menopausal age despite the unequivocal dire warnings on the packaging cautioning women of substantial risks that should, in any dutiful context, prevent these drugs from being marketed.

And not to forget the pitiful existence of the mares and their by-products – the innocent foals born into a precarious world where their fate is sealed if there are no takers. Now of course, this malevolent industry has moved across the globe to countries where animal welfare is decidedly worse than the loathsome state of affairs in North America.

PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).

But there are of course options – alternatives to the use of drugs containing equine-derived hormones. The Horse Fund has compiled a list of such options (see as well as the safety aspects of FDA-approved prescription versions of HRT that are not derived from pregnant mare’s urine. [3]


One natural alternative that crops up (pun intended) on occasion, yet is not mentioned in either of these articles, is “rhubarb”.

Rhubarb is said to be a very “old” plant, meaning that documented knowledge of the plant goes back as far as 2,700 years in China. The roots were said to have medicinal value and were a prized commodity for treating a variety of ailments. [4]

In many cultures, herbs and foods that contain so-called phytoestrogens have been used to treat symptoms of climacteric complaints – that is, complaints associated with the transition between premenopause, perimenopause and early postmenopausal stages. Examples include black cohosh, soy and red clover; rhubarb is also classified as a phytoestrogen.

Phytoestrogens are known to have distinct actions on what are known as estrogen receptors (ERs) which are activated by the hormone estrogen. As an example, estrogen receptors are over-expressed in around 70% of breast cancer cases, referred to as “ER-positive”, which can lead to proliferation of mammary cells. Moreover, estrogen metabolism creates genotoxic waste – chemical agents that damage the genetic information within a cell causing mutations which may lead to cancer.

There is growing evidence that phytoestrogens could have a protective effect on the initiation or progression of breast cancer by inhibiting pathways important for cell growth and proliferation. The characterized mode of phytoestrogen action is estrogen receptor (ER) binding which effectively blocks estrogen from binding to the ER and reduces the risk of cell propagation. Their metabolic actions are much more complicated than this simple explanation and the science behind their effectiveness is challenging to address. [5]

Essentially this is what a SERM’s (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator) function is.

Several reports have indicated that experimental data supports the theory that ERr from the rhubarb plant and/or its constituents do in fact exhibit(s) SERM-like properties. [6]

SERMs block the effects of estrogen in the breast tissue, for example, as well as other tissues in the body that have estrogen receptors (e.g. bones, uterus). Recall that the bazedoxifene component of Duavee is a SERM, although it is not naturally derived, nor has it been officially approved by the FDA as a stand alone drug.

Several scholarly articles can be found online that describe the efficacy and safety profile of rhubarb extracts in the treatment of menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, sweating, sleep disturbances, and mood swings.

In each of these, a pill containing the extract (ERr) significantly reduced vasomotor and other menopausal symptoms. ERr was first introduced to treat menopausal symptoms in 1993 and has had no severe adverse effects reported with its use.

In an article published in Menopause in 2006 “Efficacy and safety of a special extract of Rheum rhaponticum (ERr 731 – trade name Phytoestrol N) in perimenopausal women with climacteric complaints: a 12-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.” Authored by Heger et al, the effectiveness of the rhubarb extract ERr 731 to treat menopausal symptoms was validated by a multicenter, prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial on 109 women with climacteric complaints receiving either a daily dose of 4 mg of ERr 731 or a placebo. [7]

The primary outcome criterion for the efficacy of ERr 731 was the change of the Menopause Rating Scale II (MRS II) total score compared to the placebo after 12 weeks. The MRS II is a health-related quality of life developed in the early 1990’s that measures the severity of age-/menopausal-related complaints by rating a profile of 11 different symptoms. [8]

These symptoms include; hot flashes/flushes, heart discomfort, sleep problems, depressive mood, irritability, anxiety, physical and mental exhaustion, sexual problems, bladder problems, dryness of vagina and joint and muscular discomfort. [9]

Additionally, the MRS II score was accompanied by secondary outcome criteria which included physical examinations to assess the safety of ERr 731 (e.g. vaginal smear, pap smear, transvaginal ultrasound, endometrial biopsy, breast palpitation, body weight).

The treatment outcome after the intake of ERr 731 or placebo for 12 weeks was assessed by both the investigators and participants according to the Integrative Medicine Outcome Scale (IMOS) – a 4-point (investigator) and 5-point (patient) verbal rating scale ( complete recovery (patient-only), major improvement, moderate change, no change, and deterioration). Results are shown in the figure below.


More detailed results, including the MRS II scores, are shown in the paper. [10]

Clearly the rhubarb ERr 731 extract is effective in significantly reducing symptomatic climacteric complaints when compared to the placebo.

Throughout the trial no abnormalities in breast tissue were observed which support those of long-term treatment with ERr 731 in everyday practice.

Moreover, women who took the ERr 731 experienced no vaginal bleeding and spotting which are common side effects due to an estrogen-dependent stimulation of the endometrium, nor was there any evidence of endometrial hyperplasia in the treated women.


Neither clinical nor experimental results detected any adverse effects of ERr 731 (e.g. uterine and endometrial growth and proliferation) which suggests that ERr 731 exerts SERM-like activites.

Overall, the trial results show that ERr 731 is a highly effective, well-tolerated, and safe herbal medicinal product in the treatment of climacteric complaints in the transition through the various stages of menopause as an alternative to traditional HRT. [11]

The demand for safe and effective estrogen-free medications is ever-increasing given the risks associated with conventional HRT, particularly those derived from conjugated equine estrogens.

In the end what matters most is that women become informed from a health and risk perspective with the realization that there is no need for PMU farming operations, whether that be here in North America or on the fledgling farms in lands far away.


Unfortunately Pfizer, and now their counterparts in foreign jurisdictions, continue to deceitfully market these drugs as the panacea to every woman’s natural menopausal transition.

Sadly, those farms in China, India and other places where they may exist, are, in general, without the same level of oversight from advocates of animal welfare, unlike here in North America where the plight of animals, whether that be livestock or the use of animals for other human profit, such as the PMU horses, has an ever-increasing base of concerned citizens.

PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).

Foremost because the industry outside of North America is, relatively speaking, new, secondly because animal welfare issues appear to be less front and center and last, but not least, because many people in these countries are likely unaware of the risks associated with these drugs derived from pregnant mare’s urine.

This of course is changing as time progresses.

At one point North America, and the EU for example, were in the same position. It took decades for the truth to surface and yet Pfizer still manages to market these drugs, considered carcinogens, to physicians and their patients alike without moral compass from all perspectives – horse or human.

After all, to Big Pharma it is all about corporate welfare and shareholder satisfaction no matter what the cost.

Save a horse – go out and eat some rhubarb, just don’t eat the leaves. [12]



[4] and
[7] file:///M:/My%20Documents/Photography%20tutorials/Efficacy_and_safety_of_a_special_extract_of_Rheum_.pdf
[10] file:///M:/My%20Documents/Photography%20tutorials/Efficacy_and_safety_of_a_special_extract_of_Rheum_.pdf
[11] file:///M:/My%20Documents/Photography%20tutorials/Efficacy_and_safety_of_a_special_extract_of_Rheum_.pdf


The Health Benefits of Rhubarb“,

A Look at a PMU Farm in China and It’s Not all About Pfizer; Tuesday’s Horse
Premstoppers Campaign; The Horse Fund

APHIS to use iris scanners to identify sored horses

JILL BARNES NELSON reporting for the Tehachapi News writes:

” . . .companies are working on an eye scan for identifying horses — just like in the spy movies.

“The scanners will use an infrared light that can capture an image of a horse’s iris from distances of up to a yard away. The iris image would be matched to information stored in a central database and could be used to identify stolen animals. It also could be used to identify a horse before a race. It should give an accurate reading, as no two irises are the same.

“The Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service began using the technology in 2013. It allows inspectors to better identify horses before they enter inspection areas. APHIS will use iris scanners as part of the agency’s continued efforts to put an end to horse soring through its enforcement of the Horse Protection Act. Soring is the use of chemicals or pressure to cause pain when the foot touches the ground, resulting in the horse picking up its feet higher and faster than it would do naturally.

“The Horse Protection Act is a federal law that prohibits sored horses from participating in shows, sales, exhibitions or auctions.”

At the beginning of the article there is a nice summary of how horses use their eyes. Read it all here »

Google Search Result. Unattributed Image.

Premstoppers at

A look at a PMU farm in China — and it’s not all about Pfizer

Pfizer’s international market for Premarin is open game for competitors without the U. S. Food & Drug Administration’s protection of the company’s monopoly trade secret.

The key component for the production of Premarin is the estrogen rich urine collected from pregnant mares. This business has become commonly referred to as the pregnant mare’s urine or PMU industry.

In 2005, a Chinese company — Xinjiang Xinziyuan Biological Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. — was formed for the express purpose of creating a Chinese PMU industry based in northwest China’s Nilka County, located within the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Breeding of PMU mares and sales of pregnant mare’s urine has since become the “sunrise industry” for the regional rural farm economy, providing a significant increase in income for the farmers and incentive to expand production and number of horses.

Pfizer is stated to be the reason for establishing Xinjiang Xinziyuan Biological, but the relationship described between the two companies is inconsistent.

On one hand, Xinjiang Xinziyuan Biological’s founding purpose is to dominate Pfizer’s international Premarin market as a Chinese competitor, while on the other hand Pfizer is said to be the primary contractor for pregnant mare’s urine produced by the “sunrise industry” that Xinjiang Xinziyuan Biological’s created, and which supplies Pfizer with the pregnant mare’s urine to manufacture the Premarin products.

Whatever the true circumstances are concerning Pfizer, the magnitude of gross cruelty to horses resulting from the creation of a domestic market in China for equine estrogen projects is in itself unthinkable.

Chinese version of Premarin cream.
Chinese version of Premarin cream.

The number of middle-age women in China presently within the target demography for estrogen products exceeds the total population of the rest of world.

The corresponding number of horses required to meet China’s domestic demand annually is greater than the the total number of horses used for Premarin production during the 75 years since FDA approval in 1942.

Here’s what a pregnant mare’s urine farm in Xinyuan County, China looks like.

PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).
PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).

PMU Farm in Xinyuan County, China (2012).

This is only tip of the iceberg of what we will be bringing to your attention. The challenge has always been that the information we sought was quite naturally in Chinese. Now of course there are Chinese translation apps but as helpful as they are, they only get you so far.

We are working to find Chinese language translators with good English to help us not only with documentation but also to help us create alerts to the women in China through social media about the carcinogenic properties of drugs made with conjugated equine estrogens as declared by the World Health Organization. We are hopeful they will not be as blasé about it as American women seem to be. There are alternatives. Yet there may be a glimmer of hope on that horizon.

In the meantime, we have also received a tip that the bulk of PMU farms supplying Pfizer are actually in Latin America. Stay tuned.

Revenues from Premarin family of drugs falls 3% in 2016


With a fall in prescriptions and market growth, revenues of the Premarin family of drugs have fallen 3% in 2016.

So what does a 3% loss in the Premarin family of drugs represent?

In 2015, as well as several years previously, these drugs netted about a billion US dollars. The question now is whether this is significant.

Looking at the trend in sales figures since 2013 perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel for the horses, albeit a distant and perhaps faint hope.

There has been a steady decrease in sales between 2013 and 2015 and now revenues are down another 3% in the current year.


A 3% decrease in revenues from 2015 represents an estimated profit margin for the Premarin family of about 987 million USD for 2016. When compared to 2013 this is a decline of approximately 9.6% in revenues or in dollar amounts 105 million USD.

Of their total revenue (~ 49 billion USD in 2015) this may not seem like a lot but it is an encouraging trend that we hope means that both women and their physicians are paying heed to the dangers of equine-derived HRT and prescribing alternatives, despite Pfizer’s aggressive ads promoting it.

What we don’t know is how large the drop in prescriptions really is. The revenues we see are of course dependent on the price of these drugs. If the costs have increased this means that prescriptions have declined even more so relative to 2013. The alternative of lower pricing options makes it more difficult to assess.

The saving factor here may be that we all know that Big Pharma is a money-making machine and trimming profits are not in their best interest.

Whatever the case, let’s hope this trend continues.

Spread the word.


Tuesday’s Horse

Alternatives to the Premarin Family of Drugs in the Treatment of Menopausal Symptoms »

Side Effects of Raising Awareness About the Premarin Family of Drugs and PMU Horses »

The Horse Fund

Premarin Horses Fact Sheet »