Big Pharma Censors Ad Warning Women About Cancer Hormone
Last month, when Breast Cancer Action, a non-profit advocacy organization, attempted to rent a billboard in Indianapolis, they got the kibosh by every rental company in the city. The message was simple–the billboards simply read, “Eli Lilly is making us sick.Tell them to stop,” and referred to Lilly's manufacturing of recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), which has been linked to cancer. BCA followed the guidelines of all companies contacted, but Indianapolis is home to Eli Lilly's corporate headquarters, and it seems their ad dollars aren't good there. According to one local company, Lamar Advertising, the billboard was not accepted because BCA cannot prove its claims. According to Lamar Executive Chris Iverson, "We didn't feel [BCA] could stand behind their statement.”
However, rBGH has been linked to cancer for over 15 years. An artificial drug given to cows to spur milk production, Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals paid over $300 million for the rights to manufacture the drug from Monsanto, a biotech organization which was criticized for it for nearly two decades. Studies have found rBGH is linked to both breast and colon cancer by increasing the levels of carcinogenic, insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in milk. rBGH is banned in Canada, Europe and Japan, and companies such as Dannon, Starbucks and Wal-Mart have all discontinued the use and sale of rBGH.
In September, BCA launched a petition calling Lilly to stop manufacturing the drug as a public health issue. “We are talking about women’s health here,” said Barbara Brenner, executive director of BCA. “A breast cancer organization's message about the impact of a drug company’s behavior is being kept off billboards in the company's hometown. When corporate influence runs this deep, the public should be outraged. We certainly are.”