Why the big stink over Premarin? Every year, approximately 75,000 mares are impregnated and tied in small stalls, unable to turn around, take even a few steps, or comfortably lie down. Rubber sacks−which can cause sores−are strapped around the mares' groins so that their urine (known as PMU, or pregnant mares' urine) can be collected to make Premarin. The mares are denied free access to water so that their urine will yield a more concentrated estrogen. The foals resulting from these pregnancies are considered unwanted "throwaways," and most are shipped off to slaughter.
"We're letting consumers know that Premarin is a prescription for animal cruelty," says PETA's Lisa Lange. "Women and their physicians can opt not to use a drug cruelly obtained from pregnant mares when great alternatives exist."
This page and more information can be found on PETA's web site.
Ronald Rust, R.Ph. wrote the following for the Dayton Daily News Oct. 20, 1997. He has given permission to share it with Sans-Uteri members. Ronald G. Rust of Englewood is a registered pharmacist in Ohio and Florida and has been in practice for more than 30-years in both hospital and community pharmacies. If you care nothing about where Premarin comes from or how inhumanely it is gathered, please, at the VERY LEAST go down to paragraph 5 and read for your own health.
If it were the only drug available to cure cancer or AIDS or some other catastrophic illness we might well look beyond its means of production. We might look beyond the inhumane treatment of the animals needed to produce it and say that this is necessary FOR NOW, until we can find something better. But we are not dealing with a catastrophic illness and there is something better NOW. We are talking about Premarin, which is used as estrogen replacement therapy for women who are post menopausal either naturally or caused by surgical removal of their ovaries.
The manufacturer of Premarin, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, maintains that this drug is "exclusively from natural sources". Yes, they are correct. Horse urine is natural, but so is manure. Why do we want something just because it is "natural"? It is a natural product to use for anyone whose natural diet includes hay. If we are looking for something natural for a human female there are many other products on the market that are far superior and not made from pregnant mares urine.
More about the other products later but let's talk about the means of obtaining this natural horse urine. Let's take a "trip" to North Dakota and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan where we will find about 450 PMU (Pregnant Mare Urine) farms. There is little or no government regulation of theses farms, just the loosely enforced "Recommended Code of Practice" of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Premarin. This seems analogous to having Dillinger guard the bank.
Each year, 70,000 to 80,000 mares are impregnated and placed in stalls so tiny that they are barely able to turn around or lie down comfortably. They are placed in a urine collection harness and rarely taken off the "production line" for exercise or any other reason. Straps firmly hold a rubber cup on the mare's urethra to catch every drop of the precious urine. The continuous standing on concrete causes swollen legs and crippling. Urinary tract infections are not uncommon and many of these horses die as a result of the stress, only to be replaced by another "disposable" horse. Since the FARMERS ARE PAID ACCORDING TO THE CONCENTRATION OF THE ESTROGEN IN THE URINE, many mares are given less water than they would normally get. This increases not only the estrogen concentration of the urine but also the bottom line.
Premarin is so widely used because it was the first product of its kind for estrogen replacement therapy. It continues to be used, not because it is superior to the other available therapy but because it is what doctors are told is the best. They are told by a company with a huge advertising budget who has a lot to lose if doctors begin prescribing other estrogens.
Although commonly thought of as a single substance, estrogen actually consists of several different but related hormones. Human estrogen consists of ESTRIOL (60-80%), ESTRONE (10-20%), and ESTRADIOL (10-20%). Horse estrogen by contrast contains primarily only one human estrogen, ESTRONE (75-80%), plus several other estrogens found EXCLUSIVELY in horses (emphasis added). As you can see, Premarin is indeed natural, for a female horse, but about as natural for a woman as a hearty meal of oats and alfalfa.
Does all this mean that a woman's only choices are horse estrogen or hot flashes? The answer is a resounding NO! Estrogen from natural plant sources compounded to a woman's exact needs as determined by her doctor, are available with a prescription from a compounding pharmacist. Although less desirable than the compounded product, other estrogens such as estradiol are obtainable at any pharmacy with a doctor's prescription. They are naturally occurring and as such not patentable. For this reason they will not be promoted to your doctor by a drug manufacturer with a big advertising budget.
Women no longer have to be a party to the inhumane treatment of horses or take a product that is natural only to horses.
Source: Rust, R. G., Dayton Daily News, October 20, 1997
Ronald Rust wrote in a personal communication to Sans-Uteri: I am very involved in compounding the plant based estrogen that closely mimics human estrogen. We place it into capsules in various strengths. If any of your members need a source of this estrogen, I can tell them where they can get their prescriptions filled. We also compound a progesterone (natural plant base) cream for topical application. It bypasses the GI tract and is absorbed well through the skin.
Want to know what Wyeth Pharmaceuticals says about Premarin®?
To read about using natural, plant based hormones visit
Here are some of the many great books on hormone replacement alternatives to Premarin®.
This page was last updated Thursday, January 8, 2004 13:20:18
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