Media Reports


Catalyst Report ABC Television 16/08/07

You would have to wonder about the motives for the production of this program. Was it to “expose” the use of products made by compounding Pharmacists, was it to “expose” women who are using bio-identical hormones or was it about more exposure for Prof. Alistair McLennan to be a mouth piece for the companies that produce synthetic or semi-synthetic hormone therapies.
This 10 minute report on the use of natural hormone therapies spent most of the time using Prof. Alistair McLennan espousing his own beliefs. “I believe it is a scam” he says in the interview. This fellow is a major opponent to the use of bio-identical hormones and is happy to tell anyone who listens or pays him, of his opposition.

 The program wheels out an unfortunate lady with a life threatening blood clot. She tells us she was using large doses of testosterone. She also tells us that the Doctors treating her in Hospital thought that the doses were too large and that this was the cause of her clotting problem. There was no discussion on other risk factors she might have had. Was she a smoker, was she taking other medications, and was she also taking other hormone therapies as well as the testosterone, what was her BMI. Any or all of these factors could have predisposed this unfortunate lady to a blood clot. I wonder if the vein clot was known about prior to the use of testosterone and if she did know, did she tell the prescriber of the testosterone. It is important to know that listed in the product information of all approved testosterone products that blood clots are a contraindication to the use of the hormone. It is the same when using testosterone to treat lack of libido in men, if they have a high cardiovascular risk or have a history of blood clots, and then the hormone is not prescribed. This information is well monographed and available to all prescribing physicians. It was interesting to note that there was no comment in the program that such blood clots are a contraindication to the use of the synthetic oestrogens.

It is interesting to note that there were no interviews with women who had great benefit from the use of bio-identical hormones, nor were there any stories of women who had bad reactions to what is called conventional HRT.

Of the hormones mentioned, there was an obvious omission, this was progesterone. This would be because Alistair has no evidence of problems with this hormone or he has forgotten that it exists. There was ample discussion of compounding pharmacists and their lack of regulation. NPAN actually agree with this. There does need to be standardisation and accreditation of such compounding pharmacists. It should be noted that Jenny, on this web site actually advocates the use of Lawley Pharmaceuticals product Pro-Feme®. This product is manufactured in a TGA approved facility and meets all international standards of GMP, including raw material quality control, production validation and long term stability studies, unlike the products that come from some compounding Pharmacists. It is also important to note that Jenny has spent countless hours lobbying for the registration of Lawley Pharmaceutical’s products through out Australia. People are referred to the section on this lobbying on the web site.

Prof. McLennan also made comment that there are no randomised controlled trials of bio-identical hormones. I am sorry but this is just plainly incorrect. He should look at the PEPI trial. Those of you reading this article are directed to the reference pages of this web site.

At least the ABC tried to balance its report by talking with a practitioner experienced in the use of bio-identical hormones, Dr. Margaret Taylor, however was given very little time to present her own evidence. It would not surprise me if she had done, but that it was edited out for the sake of the “story”.
In major medical conferences anywhere in the world, all speakers must disclose any conflict of interest especially if they have received funding or gifts from Pharmaceutical firms. Perhaps the reporter on Catalyst should have asked Prof McLennan if he or his medical facility receives financial support for his research now and in the past from the hormone marketing Pharmaceutical companies. Full disclosure may give the viewer a different perspective on Professor McLennan’s claims.