Breast Cancer Billboards Blocked in Eli Lilly’s Hometown

Because it’s Movember, I’ve been talking about men’s health and prostate and testicular cancer, but today I want to talk about breast cancer. I’ve covered the issue of the link between Eli Lilly and cancer previously, but a new development has cropped up.

According to Breast Cancer Action (BCA), in September 2010, 6732 signatures were gathered from individuals (one for each day that rBGH has been on the market) in support of sending a message to Eli Lilly in their hometown Indianapolis via billboard advertising.

But every single billboard company turned them down, despite working within the guidelines of each company they contacted, due to the content of their ad. And it’s not because of bare boobs or graphic images or offensive language.

The simple message they won’t display is “Eli Lilly is making us sick. Tell them to stop”.

For over 6 weeks BCA has been working to find a media company that would let them buy billboard space to display this. But not one single business will take their money.

“We are talking about women’s health here. A breast cancer organization’s message about the impact of a drug company’s behavior is being kept off billboards in the company’s home town. When corporate influence runs this deep, the public should be outraged. We certainly are.” – Barbara Brenner, BCA executive director

Here’s a little refresher on the link between Eli Lilly and cancer:

Eli Lilly increases cancer risks with rBGH. Eli Lilly then sells cancer treatment drugs like Gemzar, and 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.

rBGH has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, including breast cancer. While it is very difficult to provide absolute proof that something causes cancer, available scientific data on rBGH was sufficient to provoke bans on the drug in the European Union, Canada, and several other countries around the world. Mounting evidence about the link between rBGH and cancer has even led large corporations like Starbucks and Wal-Mart to discontinue using fluid milk stimulated with it. Ignoring this and trusting Eli Lilly’s insistence that rBGH is safe is a gamble we’re simply not willing to take.

As far as we know, there is only one entity that benefits from the use of rBGH – Eli Lilly. We are aware of Eli Lilly’s profit cycle, increasing our risk of cancer with rBGH, while at the same time selling drugs to treat and “prevent” the very cancer rBGH is helping to create. This is not corporate responsibility. This is not caring for our communities. This is greed that’s endangering our health.”

Help BCA spread this message far and wide – not on a billboard, but on walls. Facebook walls. Twitter status updates. Blog posts.

It’s high time we learn to leverage our social networks to put pressure on both the companies responsible for milking cancer, and the media they control.

Derek Markham

Things I dig include: simple living, natural fatherhood, attachment parenting, natural building, unassisted childbirth (homebirth), bicycles, permaculture, organic and biodynamic gardening, vegan peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, bouldering, and the blues. Find me elsewhere at @NaturalPapa, @DerekMarkham, Google+, or RebelMouse.

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