2010 Think Before You Pink® campaign

Reducing the risk of breast cancer requires understanding and eliminating its causes. Pinkwashers are companies that claim to care about breast cancer but make or sell products that are linked to the disease. rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) is one of those products.

Eli Lilly is a pharmaceutical company that claims to “care for our communities.” But the company is responsible for the cancer and infertility causing DES (diethylstilbestrol), for the illegal marketing of the schizophrenia drug Zyprexa and for the illegal marketing of its osteoporosis drug Evista as a breast cancer “preventive.” And now it’s Eli Lilly & rBGH.

rBGH is an artificial hormone given to cows to make them produce more milk. It’s been linked to breast cancer and other health problems. It has been banned entirely in Canada, Australia, Japan, and all countries in the European Union.

Eli Lilly acquired rBGH, sold as Posilac, from biotech company Monsanto in 2008, despite the bad publicity Monsanto received for years for developing the hormone. Even more disturbingly, Eli Lilly acquired rBGH from Monsanto knowing that Monsanto’s own studies show milk from cows treated with rBGH/Posilac contains increased levels of IGF-1, a hormone linked to cancer.

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.

Our campaign is focused on getting Eli Lilly to stop making and marketing rBGH. Let’s tell them to stop milking cancer!

See the campaign brief here.