Modal close

Dear Democracy Now! visitor,

You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power. Democracy Now! brings you crucial reporting like our coverage from the front lines of the standoff at Standing Rock or news about the movements fighting for peace, racial and economic justice, immigrant rights and LGBTQ equality. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation—all without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How is this possible? Only with your support. If every visitor to this site in December gave just $10 we could cover our basic operating costs for 2017. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in 2017.

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.


Government Researchers Halt Study of Hormone Replacement Therapy, Taken By Millions of Older Women: A Roundtable Discussion

StoryJuly 12, 2002
Watch iconWatch Full Show

Government researchers have dealt a powerful blow to drug companies, who have for decades forcefully promoted hormone replacement therapy,

Hormone replacement therapy is taken by millions of menopausal women in the US. But scientists from the federally funded Women’s Health Initiative this week reported that a popular estrogen/progestin pill produced by pharmaceutical mega-company Wyeth-Ayerst significantly increases risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, breast cancer, and blood clots in the lungs.

An estimated six million women in the U.S. are currently taking Prempro after being assured that it relieved menopause symptoms, and to prevent bone loss.

This announcement comes only two weeks after results from another study showed that estrogen alone does not help protect women heart patients from further heart disease. That study was funded by the pharmaceutical giant Wyeth itself.

The marketing of estrogen therapy began in 1966 when a prominent New York gynecologist, Dr. Robert Wilson, published a book called "Feminine Forever." Wilson’s best-selling book said that menopause was an illness that could be treated with estrogen, and that the feminine hormone could keep women young, healthy and attractive.Wilson’s book begins with an anecdote from a man who asked Wilson to put his wife on estrogen. The man said, "She’s driving me nuts. She won’t fix meals . . . She picks on me all the time . . ." He pulled a gun from his pocket, and said, "If you don’t cure her, I’ll kill her." Dr. Wilson reflected, "I have often been haunted by the thought that except for the tiny stream of estrogen . . . this woman might have died a violent death at the hands of her own husband."

Dr. Wilson died in 1981, but his son, Ronald Wilson, joins us today on the phone. He has a very different take on the hormone industry. In fact, he has some explosive news about the funding of his father’s book and his own family history.


  • Ron Wilson, son of Dr. Robert Wilson, author of "Feminine Forever", the book that depicted menopause as an illness that could be treated with estrogen.
  • Barbara Seaman, longtime women’s health activist. She is the author of many books on the women’s health industry including "The Doctor’s Case Against the Pill" (one of the first indictments of the birth control pill, published in 1969) and "Women and the Crisis in Sex Hormones." She is working on a book about estrogen with the working title "The Greatest Experiment Ever performed on Women," forthcoming from Hyperion. She is also the co-founder of the National Women’s Health Network, which looks at women’s health issues from a feminist perspective free from corporate influence.
  • Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya, MPH, MD, member of the American Holistic Medical Association and a physician at the New York Presbyterian Hospital.
  • Sylvia Smoller, one of the lead investigators in the Women’s Health Initiative study. She is a Ph D in the Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Related links:

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.

Make a donation