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Table 2 Summary results of information working groups

From: Informing women about hormone replacement therapy: the consensus conference statement

Working groups dealing with information targeted to women (brochures, etc...)
Documents selected and reviewed: 78, most of them were published online
* 13 documents published by the national health system (NHS), 11 by scientific societies and 54 by private sources (pharmaceutical companies, publishing houses and patients associations)
* 68–87% of documents, particularly published online, were poorly written and had an inadequate graphical quality (13% reported tables or graphs and 32% illustrated with photos or images)
* less than 50% described menopause as a physiological phase of the life
* about 33% described the problems related to menopause as a disease
* about 75% of the pharmaceutical and specialised documents, and 50% of the documents produced by the NHS and scientific societies described HRT as a preventative measure; the main indication to HRT is the prevention of bone fractures
* 60–80% of the documents published by scientific societies, NHS, publishing houses, patients' associations, and in less than 50% of pharmaceutical and specialised documents reported the risks associated with HRT. Breast cancer is the mainly reported risk
* 50% of the documents were linked to commercial activities or sponsors, particularly herbal products
* 30–50% of documents did not report the original sources of information and 20% of the articles were written by an expert in the field
* 51% of the documents did not report information on sponsorship
Working group dealing with information published in mass media
Documents selected and reviewed: 225 articles
* 20 articles published in women magazines, 69 health magazines, 64 weekly news magazines, 32 newspapers, and 40 specialised journals
* most of the articles included pictures of women much younger than the HRT target Women
* 68% referred to the opinions of an expert in the field as the main sources of Information
* HRT is recommended to cure symptoms mainly in specialised journals (63%), and weekly news magazines (61%)
* 15% women magazines, 49% health magazines, 52% weekly news magazines, 38% newspapers and 68% specialised journals described HRT as a preventative measure
* 60% of the articles cited the risks of HRT
* the working group concluded that about half of the articles published in weekly news magazines and specialised periodicals, a fourth of the articles published in women's magazines and less than a third in health magazines might be helpful for women to make informed decisions
* the information on conflicts of interest is missing in 88% of the articles