In 1994, Monsanto and the FDA introduced rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) into the market. This is a powerful genetically engineered drug which, when injected into dairy cows, will force them to produce up to 25% more milk. However, when a cow is injected with rBGH, its milk production is stimulated, but not directly. The presence of rBGH in the cow’s blood stimulates production of another hormone, called Insulin-Like Growth Factor (IGF). It is IGF that stimulates milk production.

IGF is a naturally occurring hormone-protein in both cows and humans. Numerous studies have shown that the IGF in cows is chemically identical to the IGF in humans. The use of rBGH increases the levels of IGF in the cow’s milk, and the IGF is not destroyed by pasteurization. Since IGF is active in humans and causes cells to divide, an increase in IGF in milk raises obvious questions as to whether it will cause inappropriate cell division and growth, leading to growth of tumors.

Since the emergence of rBGH on the market in 1994, every industrialized country in the world (except for the USA) has banned it. The fact of the matter is that rBGH was never adequately tested before the FDA allowed it on the market. A standard test of new biochemically produced products and animal drugs requires 24 months of testing with several hundred rats. But rBGH was tested for only 90 days on 30 rats. This short term rat study was submitted to the FDA but never published. The FDA refused to allow anyone outside that agency to review the raw data from this truncated study, saying it would “irreparably harm” Monsanto.

In February of 1997, two veteran news reporters for Fox TV in Tampa, Florida, were fired for refusing to water down an investigation reporting that rBGH may promote cancer in humans who drink milk from rBGH treated cows. Monsanto pressured Fox TV to water down the series, offering to pay the two reporters if they would leave the station and keep silent about their report, but they refused and were fired. On April 2, 1998 they filled their own lawsuit against the TV station. After a five week trail and six hours of deliberation which ended August 18, 2000, a Florida state court jury unanimously determined that Fox “acted intentionally and deliberately to falsify or distort the plaintiffs’ news reporting of rBGH.” The jury awarded $425,000 in damages. Why was Monsanto so Determined to keep the reporters quite?

Here’s why. In 1998, Canadian scientists managed to acquire the full Monsanto studies for the first time. They were stunned to find out that the FDA never even looked at Monsanto’s original data on which the agency’s approval had been based. In reviewing the data, the scientists learned that Monsanto’s “secret” studies showed that rBGH caused prostate cancer and thyroid cancer in laboratory rats!

In August 2008, Eli Lilly agreed to buy rBGH from Monsanto. This seemed to be a peculiar choice at the time. Why on earth would Eli Lilly’s veterinary division (Elanco) pay 300 million for a drug that other companies wouldn’t touch with a ten food pole? The I began to connect the dots, I read a story about an owner of an auto body shop who was arrested for “keying” hundreds of cars. What a way to increase business! Eli Lilly was doing the “drug equivalent” of keying cars and then getting paid to fix them!

You see, Eli Lilly also sells cancer drugs. So, while Eli Lilly is pushing a milk drug (rBGH) that causes cancer, they are also planning on “coming to the rescue” with other drugs to “treat” the cancer that the rBGH just created. Just call it the perfect business “double play.” But that’s not all… it gets even better for Eli Lilly. Cows treated with rBGH have much higher incidence of mastitis (udder infection). You guessed it. Eli Lilly is more than happy to sell antibiotics to treat the infection. Meanwhile, Eli Lilly is laughing all the way to the bank.

6 thoughts on “rBGH

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