Eli Lilly has taken pinkwashing to a whole new level. By adding rBGH to the products they sell, Eli Lilly has completed its cancer profit circle: it creates cancer with rBGH, it sells cancer treatment drugs like Gemzar, and it sells a drug, Evista, to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women at high risk of the disease. Eli Lilly’s cancer drugs made $2,683,000,000 for the company in 2008. Its potentially carcinogenic dairy hormone made millions of dollars in the same year. Eli Lilly is milking cancer.
Is Eli Lilly Milking Cancer by Promoting AND Treating It?
Years ago, an owner of a glass company was arrested for throwing bricks through store windows in his town. What a way to increase business! Has Eli Lilly figured out the drug equivalent of breaking, then fixing our windows?
In August 2008, the huge drug company agreed to buy Monsanto’s bovine growth hormone (rbST or rbGH), which is injected into cows in the US to increase milk supply. It was an odd choice at the time. A reporter asked Lilly’s representative why on earth his veterinary division Elanco just paid $300 million for a drug that other companies wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. The drug’s days were obviously numbered. The former head of the American Medical Association has urged hospitals to stop using dairy products from rbGH-injected cows, the American Nurses Association came out against it, even Wal-Mart has joined the ranks of numerous retailers and dairies loudly proclaiming their cows are rbGH-free. In fact, Monsanto’s stock rose by almost 5% when the sale was announced, and Eli Lilly’s dropped by nearly 1%.
The main reason for the unpopularity of this hormone, which is banned in most other industrialized countries, is the danger of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). Dozens of studies confirm that IGF-1, which accelerates cell division, substantially increases the risk of breast, prostate, colon, lung, and other cancers. Normal milk contains IGF-1, milk drinkers have higher levels of IGF-1, and the milk from cows injected with Eli Lilly’s drug has much greater amounts of IGF-1. You can connect the dots.
Would it be too crass to point out the obvious conflict-of-the-public’s-interest that Eli Lilly also markets cancer drugs? In fact their drug Evista, which might help reduce the risk of breast cancer, may lower IGF-1 (according to one small study). So on the one hand, Eli Lilly pushes a milk drug that might increase cancer, and on the other, it comes to the rescue with drugs to treat or “prevent” cancer. Call it the perfect cancer profit cycle.
h/t Daniel Higdon