Is Eli Lilly Milking Cancer by Promoting and Treating It?

Breast Cancer Action and a coalition of consumer and health organizations have launched a campaign called Milking Cancer, where you can demand from Eli Lilly that they withdraw their dangerous bovine growth hormone from the market. For more on bovine growth hormone, see the 18-minute film, Your Milk on Drugs.

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.

It gets better.

Cows treated with rbGH have much higher incidence of mastitis, a painful infection of the udder. This results in more pus in the milk (yuck). But don’t worry. It’s Eli Lilly to the rescue again. They are one of the companies happy to sell antibiotics to dairy farmers to treat the infection–which can’t help but increase antibiotic resistance in humans (double yuck).

History of Lawsuits and Criminal Charges

But would Eli Lilly consciously risk our health just to increase their profit? What kind of company are they and can we trust them with our food? If recent events are any indication, you better look for rbGH-free labels.

A December 17, 2006 New York Times article revealed that according to hundreds of internal documents and emails,

Eli Lilly has engaged in a decade-long effort to play down the health risks of Zyprexa. … Lilly executives kept important information from doctors about Zyprexa’s links to obesity and its tendency to raise blood sugar — both known risk factors for diabetes. … Lilly was concerned that Zyprexa’s sales would be hurt if the company was more forthright about the fact that the drug might cause unmanageable weight gain or diabetes.

Their own surveys revealed that 70% of psychiatrists had at least one patient “develop high blood sugar or diabetes while taking Zyprexa.” And 30% of patients taking the drug for a year gained at least 22 pounds–some over 100 pounds. But Lilly told their sales team, “Don’t introduce the issue!!!”

One doctor even warned: “Unless we come clean on this, it could get much more serious than we might anticipate.” It did indeed get serious. They paid out hundreds of millions in settlements to people who claimed they developed diabetes or other disorders.

But Lilly’s Zyprexa troubles were not over. In early 2009, they were forced to pay a record-setting $1.42 billion settlement with the Justice Department, and another record-setting state consumer protection claim of $62 million, for illegally marketing the drug to children and the elderly. It emerged in June of this year that Lilly “officials wrote medical journal studies about the antipsychotic Zyprexa and then asked doctors to put their names on the articles, a practice called ‘ghostwriting.’”

Eli Lilly was also the maker of the infamous Diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic estrogen. Starting in 1938, it was prescribed to pregnant women to prevent miscarriages and other problems. Although in 1953, research showed that it didn’t actually prevent miscarriages, it continued to be used until 1971, when the FDA alerted the public that the daughters exposed to DES in the womb were at risk of a rare vaginal cancer. An estimated 5-10 million pregnant women received DES. The civil courts held Lilly liable because they should have foreseen (based on prior information) that DES might cause cancer and that Lilly should have done the proper testing before marketing it.

Rigging Research

In the late 1980s Eli Lilly was one of four companies (including American Cyanamid, Upjohn, and Monsanto) that tried to get their version of bovine growth hormone approved by the FDA. I sat down with Dr. Richard Burroughs, who was a lead reviewer for the agency on these applications. He didn’t have kind words to say about the companies. “They didn’t follow good science and they didn’t follow regulations for adequate well controlled studies,” he said. “They just went out and skewed the data.”

He said, for example, that Eli Lilly had mysteriously lost organ samples that may have shown problems in injected cows. And their researchers came up with creative ways to hide reproductive changes in the animals. Specifically, injections appeared to suppress cows’ regular menstrual cycle or reduce the visual symptoms. The company was required to report the number of cows “in heat,” but was told by the FDA that they could not use bulls to identify them. If bulls were needed, then the label on their drug would have to inform farmers that they would need a bull to help identify which cows were in heat. And most farms didn’t have bulls.

According to Burroughs, FDA investigators figured out that Lilly researchers secretly pumped up a heifer–a young female cow–with male hormones, so that the transgendered animal would act like a male and be attracted to the cows in heat. Lilly followed the letter of the law by not using a bull, but well, you can decide if you want to trust these guys.

Eventually, Lilly and two other companies withdrew their products, leaving Monsanto’s brand of rbGH as the only one that got approved and marketed. But Lilly worked a deal where they represented Monsanto’s drug outside the US. They sell it in 20 countries, including South Africa, Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, Kenya and Mexico. And now, they offer it in the US as well.

Human Reproductive Problems from Drugged Milk

In May 2006, an article in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine concluded that rbGH use, and the subsequent increase in IGF-1 in the US diet, is probably the reason why we have much higher levels of fraternal twins compared to the UK, where rbGH is banned.

Mothers with twin births are more likely to suffer from hypertension, gestational diabetes, hemorrhage, and miscarriage. Twin babies are more likely to be born prematurely and suffer from birth defects, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, vision and hearing disorders, and serious organ problems. How many drugs do you suppose Eli Lilly sells to treat these disorders?

Tell Eli Lilly to take rbGH off the market and out of your milk. To find non-rbGH dairy products, check out the non-GMO shopping section at www.responsibletechology.org.

Lyme/Autism Group Blasts Genetically Modified Foods as Dangerous

Stop eating dangerous genetically modified (GM) foods! That’s the upshot of the Lyme Induced Autism (LIA) Foundation’s position paper released today.

The patient advocacy group is not willing to wait around until research studies prove that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) cause or worsen the many diseases that are on the rise since gene-spliced foods were introduced in 1996. Like the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) earlier this year, the LIA Foundation says there is more than enough evidence of harm in GM animal feeding studies for them to “urge doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets” and for “individuals, especially those with autism, Lyme disease, and associated conditions, to avoid” GM foods.

Dr. Jannelle Love, founder of the Autism Relief Foundation, is quoted in Kimberly Wilcox’s excellent article:

“It is known that children on the Autistic Spectrum suffer from fragile immune systems, significant digestive and brain inflammation, and the environmental toxin overload. Putting foreign entities such as GMO foods into such a fragile child may indeed cause further deterioration and perhaps block the delicate biochemical pathways needed for appropriate functioning and possible recovery.”

The LIA Foundation calls for physicians and patient advocacy groups to explain to patients the role that GM foods may play in disease and to distribute non-GMO educational materials, including the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, which makes it easier to find brands without GM ingredients. (See www.nonGMOGuide.com). They also called for a moratorium on all GM foods and for “Research to evaluate the role of GM foods on autism, Lyme disease, and related conditions.”

GMOs: pervasive and high-risk

The five main GM foods are soy, corn, cotton, canola, and sugar beets. Their derivatives are found in more than 70 percent of the foods in the supermarket. The primary reason the plants are engineered is to allow them to drink poison. They’re inserted with bacterial genes that allow them to survive otherwise deadly doses of poisonous herbicide. Biotech companies sell the seed and herbicide as a package deal. Roundup Ready crops survive sprays of Roundup. Liberty Link crops survive Liberty. US farmers use hundreds of millions of pounds more herbicide because of these herbicide-tolerant crops, and the higher toxic residues end up inside of us. The LIA position paper acknowledges that “Individuals with infections that compromise immunity… and/or high toxin loads may also be especially susceptible to adverse effects from pesticides.”

Some GM corn and cotton varieties are also designed to produce poison. Inserted genes from a soil bacterium produce an insect-killing poison called Bt-toxin in every cell of the plant. Bt is associated with allergic and toxic reactions in humans and animals, and may create havoc in our digestive system (see below).

All GM crops, in fact, should be considered high-risk. Irrespective of which gene you insert, the process of genetic engineering itself results in massive collateral damage within the plants’ natural DNA. This can result in new or higher levels of toxins, carcinogens, allergens, or nutrient-blocking compounds in our food.

Because of a corporate takeover at the FDA, they don’t require a single safety test on GMOs — so almost none of the potential side effects are evaluated before the crops are approved for sale. The few animal feeding safety studies that have been conducted, however, show serious problems. It’s obvious why those suffering from autism, Lyme, or any ailment, would want to stop being used as a guinea pig in this massive GMO feeding experiment.

AAEM physician Amy Dean, a board certified internal medicine specialist, says:

“GMOs have been shown to adversely affect the digestive and immune systems of animals in laboratory settings. Lyme and autism, on the rise in the US, are also associated with digestive and immune system dysfunction. Therefore, patients with Lyme and autism should avoid GM foods.”

Autism, food allergies, and GMOs

It is noteworthy that children with autism are often allergic to corn and soy. Both are genetically engineered. Many are also allergic to dairy.

The LIA press release points out, “dairy cows are usually fed GM feed and sometimes injected with GM bovine growth hormone.” Although no studies have looked at the impact of eating meat or milk from GM-fed animals, secret FDA documents made public from a lawsuit revealed that their Center for Veterinary Medicine was very concerned that toxins from GM foods might bioaccumulate in the livestock. If so, their milk and meat may be even more dangerous than the GM plants.

Studies on the impact of bovine growth hormone on the cows’ milk are less ambiguous. The dairy products from treated cows contain higher amounts of puss, antibiotics, bovine growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). The last on the list is considered most dangerous. IGF-1 is linked to a much higher risk of cancer, and according to one study, may also be responsible for the high rates of fraternal twins born in the US.

GMO health risk sampler

Our Institute for Responsible Technology’s Campaign for Healthier Eating in America has been very busy distributing our Non-GMO Shopping Guide to doctors around the nation, who are quite concerned about the impact of GMOs on their own and their patients’ health. They are also giving patients our small pamphlet that summarizes the health dangers of GMOs. This helps to inspire people to use the Shopping Guide. Some of the health risks are included below. (Citations are posted.) See if you’re also “inspired.”

Digestive disorders

According to GMO safety expert Arpad Pusztai, PhD, the digestive tract is the first and largest point of contact with GM foods and can reveal reactions to various toxins. Lab animals fed GM feed developed lesions in the stomach, damage intestines, and abnormal and proliferative cell growth in the walls of the stomach and intestines.

Toxic intestinal bacteria

The beneficial bacteria living inside our digestive tract is used for digestion and immunity. Excessive herbicide residues on herbicide-tolerant GM crops may kill beneficial gut flora. More importantly, the only published human feeding experiment revealed that the genetic material inserted into GM soy transfers into bacteria living inside our intestines and continues to function. This means that long after we stop eating GM foods, we may still have dangerous GM proteins continuously produced inside us. Consider, for example, if the gene that creates Bt-toxin in GM corn were also to transfer. It might turn our intestinal bacteria into living pesticide factories.

Compromised immune system

Virtually every animal feeding study that looked for immune changes from GMOs found them. GM-fed animals had a sluggish immune responses, damaged organs associated with immunity, altered parameters in the blood, and dangerous inflammatory and immune reactions.

Allergies

No tests can guarantee that a GMO will not cause allergies. Although the World Health Organization recommends a screening protocol, GM soy and corn fail those tests–because their GM proteins have properties of known allergens.

Soon after GM soy was introduced in the UK, soy allergies skyrocketed by 50 percent. A skin prick allergy test verified that some people react to GM soy, but not to natural soy. GM soy contains as much as 7-times the amount of a known soy allergen. Both GM soy and corn contain at least one new unexpected allergen, not found in natural crops.

The biotech industry claims that Bt-toxin is harmless to humans and mammals because the natural bacteria version has been used as a spray by farmers for years. In reality, hundreds of people exposed to natural Bt spray had allergic and flu-like symptoms. Now, farm workers throughout India are getting those same symptoms from handling Bt cotton. Likewise, mice fed natural Bt had powerful immune responses; now mice and rats fed Bt corn also show immune responses.

GMOs may make you allergic to non-GM foods

Since GMOs were introduced in the US, food allergies have become a huge problem, especially for kids. Some of the foods that trigger reactions, however, are not genetically engineered. But studies show how GM foods might create sensitivity to other foods, and may in fact be contributing to this national epidemic.

GM soy, for example, drastically reduces digestive enzymes in mice. If our ability to breakdown proteins was impaired, we could become allergic to a wide variety of foods.

Mice fed Bt-toxin not only reacted to the Bt itself, they started having immune reactions to foods that were formerly harmless. The Bt-toxin in the corn we eat may have a similar impact. Mice fed experimental GM peas also started reacting to a range of other “safe” foods. The allergen responsible for this reaction may be found in GM foods on our supermarket shelves.

GMOs and liver problems

The liver is a primary detoxifier. Its condition can indicate if there are toxins in our food. Mice and rats fed GM feed had profound changes in their livers. In some cases, livers were smaller and partially atrophied. Some were significantly heavier, possibly inflamed. And certain cellular changes indicated a toxic insult from the GM diet.

Reproductive problems and infant mortality

Both male and female animals showed horrific problems when fed GM soy. More than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, compared to 10 percent of the non-GM soy controls. The GM babies were also considerably smaller, and were unable to conceive in a subsequent study. Male rats and mice fed GM soy had changed testicles, including altered young sperm cells in the mice. And when both mouse parents ate GM soy, the DNA of their embryos functioned differently. GM corn also had an impact. The longer mice were fed the corn, the fewer babies they had and the smaller their babies were.

Livestock sterility, disease, and death

Many of the problems seen in laboratories are also reported by farmers and investigators in the field.

  • Thousands of sheep, buffalo, and goats in India died after grazing on Bt cotton plants after harvest. Others suffered poor health and serious reproductive problems.
  • Farmers in Europe and Asia say that cows, water buffaloes, chickens, and horses died from eating Bt corn varieties.
  • About two dozen US farmers report that GM corn varieties caused widespread sterility in pigs or cows.

Ready to change your diet?

Inspired? How about alarmed? Choosing non-GMO diets is not only a good idea for those suffering from disease, but for anyone wanting to eat healthy and prevent disease.

Safe eating.