Wednesday, September 23, 2009

PSA - Stop "Milking Cancer" Campaign


Breast Cancer Action Challenges Pharma Giant's Marketing of the Artificial Hormone, Asks the Public to Demand Action

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Breast Cancer Action (BCA), known as the watchdog of the breast cancer movement, today announced the launch of their "Milking Cancer"

campaign challenging the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly to stop manufacturing rBGH. rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone, also known as rBST) has long been linked to cancer.

Eli Lilly is the sole manufacturer of rBGH which is sold worldwide under the name Posilac. The company also markets drugs to treat breast cancer and a drug to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women at high risk.

"Eli Lilly profits from cancer any way you look at it," said Barbara Brenner executive director of Breast Cancer Action. "It's the perfect profit cycle. When Eli Lilly milks cancer, it's great for the company, but bad for the public's health."

The artificial hormone rBGH has been banned in Japan, Australia, Canada and the European Union. Large corporations such as Wal-Mart and Starbucks no longer use milk from rBGH-treated cows in their store-brand products.

"There is strong evidence of a connection between rBGH and cancer, including breast cancer," according to Dr. Martin Donohoe, Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Community Health, Portland State University. "Many leading dairies and health care facilities have eliminated its use. Why should we take a chance with the public's health?"

BCA is launching the Milking Cancer campaign --featuring an on-line video and website, ( - to raise awareness and to encourage concerned consumers to contact Eli Lilly directly and tell them to stop manufacturing rBGH.

This project builds on BCA's Think Before You Pink(R)- a campaign raising critical questions about pink ribbon promotions and targeting "pinkwashers": companies that say they care about breast cancer, but make products that contribute to the incidence of the disease. Bolstered by the many successes of the campaign, including a 2008 effort that persuaded General Mills to discontinue the use of rBGH in pink-lidded Yoplait yogurt, Brenner urges people to believe they can effect change over Eli Lilly as well. "Ordinary people have extraordinary power to change corporate behavior," said Brenner. "People who care about public health can and will get Eli Lilly to stop milking cancer and end the manufacture of rBGH."

Breast Cancer Action is a non-profit education and advocacy organization that does not accept funding from pharmaceutical companies or any other organizations that profit from or contribute to the breast cancer epidemic.

Partners in the Milking Cancer Campaign are DES Action, Food and Water Watch, Institute for Responsible Technology, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, Our Bodies Ourselves, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Women's Community Cancer Project.

Sidebar: Looks like Eli Lilly is "milking" cancer on both ends...this entitles them to honorary enrollment in the ICBC, Inc.*

About Lilly Oncology, a Division of Eli Lilly and Company

For more than four decades, Lilly Oncology has been dedicated to delivering innovative solutions that improve the care of people living with cancer. Because no two cancer patients are alike, Lilly Oncology is committed to developing novel treatment approaches. Our quest is to develop a broad portfolio of tailored therapies that accelerate the pace and progress of cancer care. To learn more about Lilly's commitment to cancer, please visit

"Lilly continues to look for ways to improve the survival of people living with cancer and fill unmet needs in difficult to treat cancers," said Richard Gaynor, M.D., vice president, cancer research and global oncology platform leader for Lilly.

Source: Eli Lilly and Company

Major Products

Eli Lilly's top eight products have each generated net sales of more than $1 billion for 2008.

Eli Lilly 2007 product sales
Eli Lilly 2007 product sales

    • Gemzar (8.4% of 2008 sales) is a chemotherapy drug for lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and breast cancer. Gemzar mimics a DNA building block, preventing DNA replication and tumor growth. Like many other chemotherapy drugs, this also stops the division of healthy cells, leading to severe side effects. Gemzar's patent is set to expire in November of 2010, however, as Lilly's method-of-use patent extension through 2013 was invalidated.
    • Alimta (5.7% of 2008 sales) is a lung and chest cancer drug.
    Excerpted from Forbes online report, dated 9/22/2009


    * ICBC, Inc. - Industrial Complex of Breast Cancer, Incorporated is a phrase coined by me to encompass the anomaly of the profit making industry that shrouds the study and treatment of breast cancer.


    1. A late comment, but a link to Feminist Law Professors & a recent post on the "breast cancer awareness" industry:

    2. Dear Propane Chef - thank you for the link. I will check it out. And no comment is ever "late"!