Unconventional Arrogance

Doug Kaufmann
In my last blog, I defined “conventional wisdom” and its opposite of “unconventional wisdom.” By defining the opposite of wisdom, we begin to get a picture of either ignorance on part of prescribing physicians, or worse. I want to believe that all physicians have their patients’ health foremost in their minds, because they should. Questions began to arise when reports of very serious side effects from hormone replacement therapies (HRT) that menopausal women were prescribed.

  In 2004, the federal government (not the drug companies) enlisted 26,000 women in a research study aimed at finding if HRT was the cause of the increase in negative reports surrounding HRT. Although the study was to be conducted for a longer period, the government stopped the research mid-stream. They found that the most popular estrogen (progestin) and estrogen only formulations, increased the risk of stroke, deep vein thrombosis, dementia and incontinence, while combining these therapies increase the risk of breast cancer. Mind you, for decades the drug companies that made HRT and the physicians who prescribed them, told patients that these drugs were safe.

But that was 2004 and this is 2011. In a truly unbelievable chain of events, almost 50% of the physicians who read that negative governmental study, now declare that the findings weren’t “convincing.” 

A recent group of researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center have now identified and studied the 340 medical papers that have been published about HRT since the 2004 study. The top ten authors had conducted about 5 papers each and it was this group of authors and their research that the Georgetown group analyzed. 

A common theme in these 50 papers was the argument that “clinical trials should not guide treatment.” Who is kidding whom when medical writers contend that clinical trials should not be used as guidelines? Clinical trials are the gold standards used by drug companies to receive drug approvals! So why would this group of 10 intelligent researchers openly defy the results of such a well-run 2004 study that led to the conclusion that their peers needed to seriously rethink the random use of HRT?

I will never understand why 2 of them reached that conclusion, but 8 of them were found to have received payments for speaking or consulting on behalf of menopausal hormone manufacturers. Does anyone else see a blatant conflict of interest here? 

I’d love your feedback on this blog!


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