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October 3, 2006

Martin J Walker's 'HRT - Licensed to Kill and Maim'


A review by Emma Holister


(See end of article for related cartoons.)


As the media direct the eyes of the world towards Bush's ceaseless war on terror, to wars in the Middle East and to threats of more wars, it seems somehow irrelevant to consider the plight of the hundreds of thousands of women whose lives have been destroyed by the medical industry's mass marketing of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

What is perhaps surprising, if one can just tear one's eyes away from the news for a moment, is that the war industry and the drug industry have always been joined in an intimate marriage of profit and propaganda, bringing war to the masses and endless fodder for the junk press posing as national news. This blood-and-guts orgy, spiced up with religious frenzy and passionate TV debate is one more episode in the real-life soap opera brought to us care of the world's mega corporations. Their friends, the world media, enthral us, the masses, with a real life, seat-gripping drama. The blood and guts of the innocent is far more newsworthy than the boring details of backstage politics and sordid multi-billion dollar drug and chemical industry deals. These are the deals that pull the strings of our puppet governments in their march towards a world of 'security' and ever greater civic control.

Martin Walker's book, 'HRT, Licensed to Kill and Maim' is the opening of the eyes, an awakening; the perception of the invisible network of giant industrial corporations working in synch to keep the market of genocide thriving and the eyes of the masses averted.

"In a society obsessed with security, there is no longer any possibility of a real debate on a subject such as iatrogenic death. When society is on a war footing, internal criticism diminishes to a smoking wick. Lights no longer burn for individual liberty, whether for those accused of terrorism or those damaged by powerful industrial interests.

Perhaps even more important than this, in some perverse way, pharmaceutical companies take their marketing battles forward with the soldiers. The ethics of pharmaceutical production get automatically and inextricably bound up with wars. This is not only through politicians who have interests in these companies, but also through their involvement in vaccines for troops and the whole issue of biological warfare and the 'protection' of the metropolitan populations sucked into war. American Home Products, previously the parent company of Wyeth, producers of HRT, also manufactured toxic dioxin, containing herbicides and pesticides similar to Agent Orange, the long-term effects of which are still suffered by the Vietnamese people.

At the end of the day, the gathering spectre of ideological oppression and global hegemony can only be challenged by people with a determination to build strong communities. Personal, everyday problems in the community should be the building blocks of democracy; they are, in effect, the reason for democracy.

In this sense, the destruction of an individual life through adverse reactions to a pharmaceutical is at least as important as, if not more so than, the external threat of terrorism. The pharmaceutical industries, together with orthodox medicine, have killed and maimed thousands more people in developed and developing societies than Al Qaeda and all other terrorist organisations put together. Yet their directors, staff, organisers, theorists and representatives consistently escape political, ethical, moral or financial censure."

HRT Licensed to Kill and Maim is Walker's ninth book and his third book about medicine after Dirty Medicine a book which has become a cult classic. The book moves away slightly from Walker's area of speciality which has become the Health Fraud movement and Lobby groups. Although there is some of this story here, the majority of the book relates a slightly more objective and sociological view of the unrecorded suffering experienced by women who have taken HRT. At the centre of these personal stories is that of Maggie Tuttle whose long term adverse reactions to different HRT regimes led to her setting up the Menopausal Helpline in 1996. With an eye to the constant historical bias of the regulatory agencies, the book relates the devastating failure of sex hormone therapy since its 'unnecessary' introduction in the 1940s.

For the millions of people whose lives have been devastated by iatrogenic (doctor induced) illness, regaining control of their health has become a battle of colossal proportions. Ordinary individuals are forced to embark upon in-depth research not only into health issues but complex political and legislative matters concerning the industrial multinational giants and the way in which they work with governments to prevent people from receiving non-hazardous and effective healthcare.

The mere fact of remaining alive in today's system of pharmaceutically-dominated medicine becomes an act of war against the State, a David and Goliath epic that could consume a person for the rest of their life.

In this masterpiece of investigative writing, Walker devotes much of the book to sharing with us the narratives of women and their personal experiences with HRT, their fight to regain their health and their phenomenal battles to be heard by a male-dominated medical elite apparently deaf to the voices of its women patients.

What this book represents is the opposite of what modern medicine provides. Whereas doctors separate their patients into quantifiable and physical fragments to be medicated and surgically interfered with, Walker's accounts of the women's lives confront the reader with the patient as a whole, including her views, her knowledge, her experiences, her feelings and her intellect.

The difficulty of a male author writing on a subject that primarily concerns women is handled with immense tact, respect and constant tribute to the women writers and activists who have preceded him in this field.

The mass medication of the female population with hormones has produced a tidal wave of death and devastation among hundreds of thousands of women. Apart from the massive rise in breast and reproductive cancers and cardiovascular disease that are now known to have been caused by HRT, other common adverse effects include suicidal depression, irascibility, hair loss, skin disorders, dizziness, weight gain, thyroid disease, intestinal disorders, food allergies and chronic muscle pain.

On the whole, these symptoms are ignored, misdiagnosed and dismissed by the medical profession who deny women's repeated claims that HRT is the cause. Rather than listening to their patients, the medical profession colludes with the pharmaceutical industry and treats women's pleas for assistance as hypochondria and neurosis, to be dealt with by the prescribing of antidepressants and a wide variety of other health-damaging drugs.

Ignorance is further guaranteed in this field by the fact that the physical and mental distress experienced by those suffering from the side effects can be so humiliating and degrading in nature that most women shy away from talking publicly about the hell they are enduring. Shame and embarrassment prevent most women from talking to others about symptoms that concern intimate and bodily issues that are frequently related to their sexuality.

It is clear, however, that the HRT industry is a winner. Convince women they'll get old and sexually unattractive to their husbands if they don't take HRT, and keep those whose lives are destroyed by it silent by humiliating them and dismissing them as hysterics.

Walker exposes the majority of 'scientific' studies on the benefits of HRT to be no more worthy and creditable than the junk mail supermarket brochures that are pushed through our letter boxes each morning to litter our floors. Promising everlasting youth and prevention of age-related diseases such as osteoporosis, HRT has been marketed as the magic elixir that will prevent husbands leaving their physically decaying wives for younger and more nubile women. Misogynous PR gimmicks are finely tuned to undermine women's sense of self-worth by pouring salt into the wounds created by decades of abusive advertising by the food, diet and fashion industries that terrorise women with the horrors of ageing in a society where only youthful and sexually attractive women survive the social round.

Walker's book is an invaluable tool for those wanting to do research into the historical background as well as the political and financial mechanisms in society that prevent the average person from being able to inform themselves with ease on matters to do with healthcare.

Mapped out in clear explanations are the historical family trees of the mega-corporations enmeshed with one another, creating a united front in the power-block erected by the pharmaceutical industry, the media, the chemical household products and junk food industries. Walker takes us on a fascinating tour of discovery and sheds light on the roots of these giant financial entities, taking us back to the19th century, and onwards through the important role they played in the Nazi eugenics programmes.

He elucidates the complex interrelationships within politics and industry, the 'who-owns-who' of the big players in world finance and the production of HRT, from company names to the names of company directors. These are the principal powers governing our planet, these are the people pulling the strings of the politicians governing our everyday lives.

He helps the reader to discern which organisations, associations and charities are controlled by the pharmaceutical industry and which are the true grassroots organisations sincerely helping people to regain control of their health and their lives, such as the Menopausal Helpline created by Maggie Tuttle. It is vital to distinguish between the true grassroots organisations such as these, and the front groups for the drug industry, also known as 'Astroturf' or Controlled Opposition Groups. Sometimes the relationships between charitable organisations and the drug companies reveal glaring conflicts of interests, at other times the relationships are more subtle and indirect.

This book is essential reading not just for those interested in learning about the HRT industry; it is a comprehensive analysis of the way pharmaceutical companies function, how they foist their lethal products upon the global market, how they control the medical and legal world and the media in order to render themselves invincible.

Becoming highly informed is now an essential part of ridding ourselves of modern illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes, diseases that are caused by the plethora of toxic products pumped into our bodies, food and environment by the multi billion-dollar drug and chemical industries. The pharmaceutical industry and their number one earner, drugs, are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths from iatrogenic illness and environmental disease every year. The only hope we have of ridding ourselves of these plagues is to cut through the smog of lies spewed out by the factories of drug propaganda that mainstream media disguise as health information.

Walker is ahead of his time, he is writing in a world where barbaric corporate genocide is the norm, where the individual is crushed, isolated and powerless to control his or her health and life. He is writing for the millions of people rendered mute by a world of scientific hegemony, giving them a chance to be heard in the cacophony of drug, medical and military propaganda. He provides an essential weapon in the fight to protect one's own life and one's rights. That weapon is accurate, detailed information about the medical industry and how it conspires to destroy our health and our environment and how it keeps the population of the planet in a state of disease, malnutrition and war.

People now not only need to reassert control over their own physical health, but also their emotional and intellectual health when faced with the challenge of visiting their doctors, who will almost invariably be hostile to any questions or ideas that do not originate from them and their pharmaceutical masters.

The initial stages of pursuing the path of autonomy in health can be fraught with difficulties. A simple visit to one's doctor can fill a person with a sense of powerlessness and insecurity. It is intimidating to have one's own thoughts and words dismissed as irrelevant or indicative of some neurosis each time one attempts to communicate views that differ from those foisted upon us by the armies of medical 'experts' drowning out the voices of mere mortal patients.

Therefore, baffling as it is, intellectual 'prevention' has become as necessary a part of being healthy in today's world as physical, prevention healthcare. Going well armed with information can be grounding and rid one of that sense of loss of bearings, lack of self confidence, frustration and inability to express one's thoughts and feelings that so many people now feel when entering the doctor's surgery.

Medical schools excel in churning out healthcare professionals who are robotic, authoritarian, arrogant, off-handed, condescending, dismissive and unable to listen to the patient to such a degree that it could well be conceived as some form of institutionalised mass psychosis.

Walker's occasional biting humour and scathing ridicule of macho corporate ideology offers a much needed release from the anger that accumulates as our eyes are opened to the full extent of the scams and abuse we've been subjected to.

He sums up the medical establishment's cunning use of utter foolishness in one chapter's brilliant conclusive paragraphs about the state of scientific publications on the subject of HRT:

"The 'confusion' strategy was a good one. Like dripping water it would, if repeated enough, wear away the immutable quality of the research results. In February 2004, while the argument was still ongoing about the falling away of women patients on HRT, anyone who fed the words 'confused' and 'HRT' into Google would have come up with two pages of articles about HRT and the confusion that now apparently surrounded it.

People were 'confused by' HRT, 'confused over' HRT, they were 'still confused', 'confused about' around six times, 'confused at' HRT and 'confused with' HRT. Not only were patients 'confused', but 'experts were also confused', even 'HRT was confused' . . . It was mainly 'women' who 'were confused' and some were even 'confused and afraid'. Almost everyone could, however, be forgiven for 'being confused'. On two web pages there were around 25 instances of the use of the word 'confused', in relation to the crystal-clear data produced by the scientific studies."

Walker's book should be on the curriculum of every school and university, it should be translated into as many languages as possible and made available in every bookstore in the world. This book is a life belt, for all those involved in the field of politics and healthcare. Those who don't read it risk being swept away by the tides of ignorance which pass for medical knowledge in post industrial society.

HRT Licensed to Kill and Maim by Martin J Walker is published by Slingshot Publications. ISBN 0-9519646-7-4. It can be obtained from any high street bookshop in Britain that uses Neilsen Book Net TeleOrdering. And it can be ordered via the Slingshot Publications web site, for delivery within four days from: It is priced at £12, E18 or $20 plus postage and packing.




mandato da Emma Holister il Tuesday October 3 2006
aggiornato il Wednesday November 8 2006

URL of this article:


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Readers' Comments

I just came across an article this morning on the hormone saga. It seems that slowly the crime is getting recognized in the courts... a href="" target="_blank"Wyeth Slammed in Federal Court for Cancer-Causing Hormone-Replacement Drug/a

Posted by: Sepp on October 5, 2006 02:41 PM


I just came across an article this morning on the hormone saga. It seems that slowly the crime is getting recognized in the courts...

a href="" target="_blank"Wyeth Slammed in Federal Court for Cancer-Causing Hormone-Replacement Drug/a

Posted by: Sepp on October 6, 2006 03:38 AM


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