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Study evaluates promotional tone in HRT journal articles

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In an analysis published in the journal PLoS Medicine, Adriane Fugh-Berman and colleagues reflect on the facts that:

“Even after the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) found that the risks of menopausal hormone therapy (hormone therapy) outweighed benefit for asymptomatic women, about half of gynecologists in the United States continued to believe that hormones benefited women’s health. The pharmaceutical industry has supported publication of articles in medical journals for marketing purposes.”

So they tried to analyze “promotional tone” in published opinion pieces on HRT, and conclude:

“Narrative review articles on hormone therapy may provide accurate statements about the risks of a therapy while simultaneously providing positive impressions of that therapy for uses unsupported by evidence. There may be a connection between industry funding for research, speaking, or consulting and the publication of promotional pieces on menopausal hormone therapy. Health care providers should exercise caution if they choose to read such articles. We believe that medical journals should follow the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts, which require that all authors submit signed statements of their participation in authorship and full disclosure of any conflicts of interest. In order to prevent the bloating of journals with pages of “recycled” text, medical journals should consider using antiplagiarism software.”

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