Speaking of Big Pharma's big, bad influence, here's more proof they're not interested in playing on a level field.

It turns out a controversial and dangerous hormone therapy that was all the rage a few years back was pushed in medical journals by writers who were paid by Big Pharma, according to court papers found in August by the New York Times.

That's right, they turned some of our most prestigious medical journals into just another extension of their marketing campaigns. These glowing articles pushed hormone replacement therapy, saying the treatments could help women with everything from wrinkled skin to heart disease to dementia.

Not only that, but they downplayed the risks of these treatments, which can be significant. Remember, they use non-bioidentical hormones, which behave in unpredictable ways inside the body and can be downright dangerous.

And you wonder why I'm skeptical of these studies. Now you have the answer.

The Times found that in one case that seemed typical, the drug company paid around $25,000 to a third-party medical writing firm to generate one of these reports.

That might sound like a lot of money to your or me, but it's money well-spent for Big Pharma. In fact, these shady reports helped hormone treatments generate $2 billion in sales in 2001, just before that money train was derailed.

In 2002, a big federal study on these drugs found that they increased the risk of breast cancer, stroke and heart disease in post-menopausal women and even increased the risk of dementia – a condition they were supposed to help prevent – in older patients.

That's why I always insist on bioidentical hormones for my patients. But now you know why you haven't heard about them from your doctor. No one's being paid to talk them up.

These hormones are designed to be a perfect match for what's already in your body, and because of that they can't be patented. And because they can't be patented, Big Pharma has no interest in selling them – there's no big payday for off-patent meds.

So instead, they push their hormones – synthetic hormones, just different enough to earn a patent. Then they plant these studies in medical journals so they seem better and safer than they really are.

Do you really need another reason not to trust them?