Horse pee reduces breast cancer risk. Say what?

The undying pursuit of trying to find goodness in the devil incarnate


Nothing has been, or ever will be, appealing or beneficial about the PMU industry and the Premarin family of drugs; they are clearly harbingers of death from both sides of the equation. - Jane Allin
Nothing has been, or ever will be, appealing or beneficial about the PMU industry and the Premarin family of drugs; they are clearly harbingers of death from both sides of the equation. – Jane Allin

Yet again another study attempting to promote the benefits of conjugated equine estrogen (CEE) derived HRT. Or should I use the “new” acronym – MHT – or menopausal hormone treatment?

No doubt more propaganda to distance the facts from the clever marketing strategies to further muddle the minds of middle-aged women.

A recent press release from Dr. Timothy Bilash of Solana Beach CA, who specializes in women’s health issues, encourages women of all ages to attend an informational talk regarding a study claiming that there is a reduced incidence of breast cancer while taking estrogen.

    “On Tuesday, June 25th at 7:00 p.m. (repeating on Saturday June 29th at 1:00 p.m.), Dr Tim Bilash, a Solana Beach OB/BYN will explain the DNA repair protein associated with BRCA-1 and its association with breast cancer. In addition, he will present the findings of a twelve-year follow-up from the 2002 Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), reporting that women who take conjugated estrogens demonstrate a twenty-three percent reduction in breast cancer risk, and an astonishing sixty-three percent death-rate reduction among those who did develop breast cancer”.[1]

Astounding! What wonderful news.

The study Dr. Bilash is referring to appeared online in the journal Lancet Oncology in March of 2012 and was authored by Garnet L. Anderson PhD., “Conjugated equine oestrogen and breast cancer incidence and mortality in postmenopausal women with hysterectomy: extended follow-up of the Women’s Health Initiative randomised placebo-controlled trial.”[2]

Essentially, this was a follow-up study of the WHI detailing the results of 7,645 women, ages 50-79 without a family history of breast cancer, who had undergone a hysterectomy and were using estrogen-only HRT for menopausal symptoms. These women were part of the 11,000 original cohort of the estrogen-only branch of the WHI study that was aborted in 2004 due to increased risks of stroke and blood clots. In this new study the researchers followed these women for about five years after the trial ended in which about half had taken estrogen-only HRT and half a placebo.

The results of the study showed that 151 women who took estrogen-only HRT developed invasive breast cancer compared to 199 women who took a placebo while 6 women on the estrogen-only HRT died from breast cancer versus 16 who took a placebo.[3] Of note however is that women in the same group who were at higher risk of developing breast cancer as a result of behavioral, genetic or family history did not receive any cancer protection benefits from the estrogen-only HRT.[4] The therapy still poses a risk of stroke, blood-clotting disorders, dementia, gall-bladder disease, etc. and a host of other cancers particularly endometrial and uterine cancer for those women who have not undergone a hysterectomy.

Clearly there are still risks to be had, yet as expected these are understated and the new results applauded. Add to this the following comment from the authors that seems to suggest that for whatever reason the tide has turned in favor of hormone replacement therapy:

    “Concepts regarding menopausal hormone therapy and breast cancer have undergone considerable change in the last decade.”[5]


If so, it is predominantly due to the premeditated manipulation and deceitful marketing strategies conceived by Wyeth, and now Pfizer, intended to quell the fears the WHI and other studies instilled in unsuspecting women. The product hasn’t changed, nor has the intent. Given the proven cause and effect relationship of conventional HRT therapy and the cornucopia of life-threatening diseases it is propaganda at its worst.

The question looms as to the validity of this study and any politics behind it if in fact any exist. There is nothing new about Big Pharma’s conspiracies and their ability to insert distorted information into so-called “scientific” medical journals and use them as marketing tools.

Simply recall the contract between Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and DesignWrite, a medical communications company, where articles were ghostwritten for top-tier medical journals with the intention of strengthening the sales of the Premarin family of HRT products.[6]

It should come as no surprise then that the funding for this research was provided by none other than Wyeth (now part of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals) and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.[7]


After all, the patent for Premarin, the estrogen-only HRT used in the study, expired in February 2012 and the lawsuits are still ongoing. What could be better than some encouraging news for those women who are taking or planning to take Premarin for the relief of menopausal symptoms? Remember their mission. “We dedicate ourselves to humanity’s quest for longer, healthier, happier lives through innovation in pharmaceutical, consumer, and animal health products.” 

Hogwash. It’s all about the bottom line.

Researchers who participated in study had this to say:

    “Some previous studies have suggested that estrogen-only HRT increases the risk of breast cancer, but these studies were less rigorous in design than the new one.”[8]

What studies are they referring to? Are they trying to insinuate that the landmark WHI study, or others equally as reputable, somehow was flawed compared to theirs? Even if they are not including the WHI they are clearly proclaiming that the conclusions reached by the WHI are in error.

Let’s see how robust their study was:

  • All the women had a hysterectomy before joining the study
  • Half the women took estrogen-only, the other half a placebo
  • Neither the women or the doctors knew which women were taking the HRT and which were taking the placebo

OK so far – a double-blind placebo controlled study where the “blindness” ensures that the personal beliefs and expectations of either the researchers or the study subjects do not undermine the objectivity of the results.

  • After the study started, the women could stop taking the HRT or placebo whenever they wanted
  • On average the women took the HRT or placebo for less than 6 years with all or mostly all of the prescribed medicine for about 3.5 years
  • Many women took fewer doses than prescribed
  • Some women agreed to be followed for more time – half for 12 years and half for less.[9]

These last four bullets seem to indicate a total lack of control on the researcher’s part – more of a “soft science” area of statistics rather than a rigorous study with defined formal phases. Without all the women taking either the estrogen-HRT or placebos for the full length of the study or in lower dosages, particularly the HRT group, the study seems inherently flawed. As the famous saying goes: “There are three ways to not tell the truth: lies, damned lies and statistics”.

In any case, I don’t buy it, nor do others:

    “Other experts weren’t convinced. “It’s inconsistent with the totality of evidence that finds estrogen increases breast cancer risk,” said Valerie Beral, director of the cancer epidemiology unit at Oxford University. She said the analysis was a subset of a larger trial that wasn’t designed to specifically look at breast cancer. “If you want to take hormone replacement therapy, estrogen-only has a much lesser effect on breast cancer than with progestin,” she said. “But to say it protects against breast cancer is wrong.”[10]

While the interactions of HRT derived from CEEs and the female body may be complex, time and time again estrogen has always shown to fuel the growth of breast cancer cells. Is this some breakthrough in medical science or just some poorly designed experiment used as a marketing tool to promote a known carcinogen? When research is commissioned or funded by commercial interests – Wyeth/Pfizer in this case – this introduces another element of risk as to its scientific validity.

“To be scientifically proven” has enormous brand value. Where research funding comes from a source which can gain large financial benefit from the sales of the product or the idea or the intellectual property which results from the research then the risk that the “research results” are skewed or selectively published in favour of the funder’s interests is quite significant. The research results are now just a means of tapping into the brand value of being “scientifically proven”. The so-called science becomes nothing more than part of a marketing campaign”.[11]

Greed at its worst – Big Pharma strikes again.

Sadly, in the end Pfizer continues to profit from the suffering of the innocent mares and their foals. Nothing has been, or ever will be, appealing or beneficial about the PMU industry and the Premarin family of drugs; they are clearly harbingers of death from both sides of the equation. The devil incarnate indeed.

Researched and Written by Jane Allin
© Int’l Fund for Horses

“We are not spiritually unconnected from the drugs we take, or the pain and suffering that goes into their making.”

~ Alice Walker

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— Send the Int’l Fund for Horses “Dear Physician Letter” (3 pp, pdf) – with or without a personal cover letter from you – to any doctor who may prescribe this medication today.

The letter is researched, written and signed by us. All you need to do is print and mail. Thank you.

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The PMU Industry: 2010 Year in Review

Written by JANE ALLIN
Chief Research Analyst

Pfizer Headquarters in New York (Photo by HENNY RAY ABRAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
Pharmaceutical Giant Pfizer Headquarters in New York (Photo by HENNY RAY ABRAMS/AFP/Getty Images)


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.
Enough said.

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.

Terminology Changes

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.

Premarin Foal
For every 150 women who stop taking Premarin, one mare is spared from the “pee line” and seven or eight “byproduct” foals will not be slaughtered for their meat.

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.

cont’d next

Busted: Wyeth Used Ghostwriters To Place Over 40 “Scientific” Articles In Medical Journals

Written by JANE ALLIN
Research Analyst, Int’l Fund for Horses

Ghost on the Keyboard
Last year the number of misleading ghost written articles subsidized by Wyeth was estimated to be 26; recent indications are there are now in excess of 40 misleading scientific 'review' papers.

The scandalous ghost writing of scientific papers subsidized by Wyeth (now a division of Pfizer) has re-surfaced in the news once again.

In July of 2009, a U.S. District Court Judge granted the motion to make discovery materials that were part of an on-going lawsuit public. These papers supporting the use of Prempro® and other derivatives of the Premarin® family of drugs written by non-accredited writers were then “authored” by medical academics.

What is most disturbing is that these ghostwritten articles “emphasized the benefits and de-emphasized the risks” of using hormone replacements. Equally alarming is that this type of marketing strategy is routinely used by pharmaceutical manufacturers to establish credibility for new and existing drugs while distorting scientific fact.

Last year the number of misleading ghost written articles was estimated to be 26; recent indications are there are now in excess of 40 misleading scientific “review” papers.

Ethical pharmaceutical companies; the “ultimate oxymoron”.

“Documents unsealed as part of a lawsuit against drug giant Wyeth Pharmaceuticals reveal that the company used ghostwriters to prepare at least 40 medical journal articles promoting the use of its hormone-replacement drug Prempro.

Hormone replacement therapy drugs such as Premarin and Prempro were widely popular in the 1990s among women seeking to avoid the symptoms of menopause. The drugs became some of Wyeth’s best sellers, raking in more than $2 billion for the company until a 2002 study showed that they significantly increased women’s risk of invasive breast cancer, heart disease and stroke. Later research also implicated the drugs in an increase dementia risk among the elderly.

Use of hormone replacement therapy plummeted, with a corresponding drop in breast cancer rates. Since then, approximately 8,400 lawsuits have been filed against drugmakers Wyeth and Pfizer by more than 10,000 women affected by side effects. More than 8,000 of these lawsuits have been consolidated into a single case, before U.S. District Judge William Wilson in Arkansas.

Wilson ordered Wyeth’s ghostwriting documents unsealed in response to a request by the defendants, the journal PLoS Medicine and the New York Times. The documents reveal that between 1997 and 2005, Wyeth paid medical communications firms to ghostwrite at least 40 articles that promoted hormone replacement for treatment of not just menopause symptoms, but also other conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.

These articles, many of them reviews of prior studies, played up the benefits of the hormone drugs while downplaying their risks. The communications firms also secured doctors to put their names on the studies as authors.”

There is however some faint hope that these criminal practices will be curtailed in the future. Elsevier, a medical journal publisher, is the first to formally step up to the plate to resolve fact from fiction. Let’s hope the rest follow suit.

“Medical journal publisher Elsevier has announced an investigation into ghostwriting practices, and some journals have started requiring full disclosure of each author’s role in producing a paper, as well as any conflicts of interest. Many journals, however, do not require this disclosure, and the extent of ghostwriting practices remains unknown.

“It’s almost like steroids and baseball,” said Joseph S. Ross, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “You don’t know who was using and who wasn’t; you don’t know which articles are tainted and which aren’t.”


Related article (from July 2009):

When Ghost Writing Doesn’t Cut It Anymore: The New Tactic

Just when you think that the veracity about conventional HRT is finally making progress and more and more individuals move away from its use in favor of more natural and safer alternatives, there they are with another deceptive marketing strategy.

Enter MHT

“There is an inexplicable movement underway to change the term, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to menopausal hormone therapy (MHT). I can’t imagine why, unless HRT is so well ingrained in women’s minds as increasing the risk for cardiovascular events (heart attack, clots and stroke) and breast cancer that some may think that changing the nomenclature from HRT to MHT may open a window through which new, less damaging information might be delivered. Think again.”

When will this charade ever end?

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.

The drug of the century? Hardly. Future generations will reflect upon conventional HRT and consider it one of the biggest medical debacles of its time.