These documents were produced in litigation against manufacturers of hormone replacement therapy by women who developed breast cancer while taking these drugs. They show how Wyeth contracted with "medical communication" companies to market the Premarin product line under the guise of scientific endeavor. The documents expose marketing campaigns that included the publication of ghostwritten articles published by leading peer-reviewed journals, presentation of ghost-authored posters at professional association conferences and involvement in academically-sponsored continuing medical education events.
The documents were made available to the public by a United States Federal judge in response to a request by PloS Medicine and The New York Times. In a document submitted to the court, Virginia Barbour, PloS Medicine's Chief Editor, asserted "ghostwriting has the potential to substantially distort the scientific record, and hence threaten the validity and credibility of medical knowledge." In unsealing the documents the court agreed that uncovering ghostwriting and related practices is in the interest of public health.