Scientist ‘deceived’ by drugs giant

Richard Guilliatt; 3/4/10

A leading Australian medical researcher says the pharmaceutical giant Wyeth duped him into publishing a scientific paper that became part of the company’s clandestine campaign to play down the dangers of its drugs for menopausal women. John Eden, an associate professor at the University of NSW and director of the Sydney Menopause Centre, says he has been shocked to learn that a paper he published in the prestigious American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology was one of more than 40 scientific articles Wyeth orchestrated to try to increase sales of its lucrative hormone-replacement drugs. Dr Eden was last month cleared of an allegation that “ghostwriters” employed by Wyeth wrote his article but he acknowledges that internal drug company documents obtained by The Weekend Australian show the company misled him about its real agenda and its behind-the-scenes role in his paper. “I was deceived,” he said, adding that his trust in the drug industry had been shaken. Dr Eden’s denunciation of Wyeth goes to the heart of an unfolding medical controversy – how hugely profitable pharmaceutical companies promote their drugs by covertly paying for ghostwritten or favourable research articles.