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On April 28, 2011, Dr. Chris Kahlenborn, a medical adviser  presented a resolution at a shareholder’s meeting on behalf of a shareholder, Human Life International. The resolution proposed a change in Johnson & Johnson’s policy — that it would not discriminate in employment against breast cancer survivors, including those voicing opposition to the sale of the pill. Shareholders rejected the proposal after J&J’s board sent a message saying they “did not believe the resolution is necessary.”   World Health Organization scientists’ research and a meta-analysis in Mayo Clinic Proceedings show the pill is associated with cancers. Use of the pill has been linked to the deadly triple-negative breast cancer.

Johnson and Johnson have been having sever issues with recalls lately as has been written about in our articles  Johnson & Johnson Issue Recall On Epilepsy Medicine and Another Recall Of Tylenol® Products. Now comes word about their contraceptives.The following statement was given by Chris Kahlenborn, MD, on April 28, 2011 in  Trenton, NJ

“Good Morning.  Thank you for the opportunity to address all of you today.  Each year, over 200,000 women develop invasive breast cancer in the United States.  In regard to Johnson and Johnson, it is good to affirm a resolution that promises not to discriminate against hiring women who have developed breast cancer; but it is not enough.  This company has a unique opportunity to be a leader against the fight against breast cancer by working to prevent it.

In October, 2006, four researchers, including myself, published a meta-analysis in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings on the subject of oral contraceptives and pre-menopausal breast cancer (1).  After reviewing all of the world’s data, we found that 21 out of 23 studies showed an increased risk of developing invasive premenopausal breast cancer if women took oral contraceptives prior to the birth of their first child, which is when most women take them.  These women incurred a 44% increased risk, which rose to 52% if they took them for at least 4 years prior to the birth of their first child.  Both of these results were significant at the 99% confidence interval-the highest standard used in research.  In addition we noted that the World Health Organization had recently classified oral contraceptives as a Group I carcinogen-the most dangerous type known to humankind.”

Recently our study was quoted in the Frontiers of Medicine in China (3) whose researchers performed their own meta-analysis and found that women who took oral contraceptives sustained a 112% increased risk in developing breast cancer.  In addition, a recent collaborative study co-authored by investigators from the National Cancer Institute, the Hutchinson Cancer Center and the University of Washington cited our meta-analysis and also noted significant breast cancer risk with oral contraceptives .

In conclusion, I note that there are three good reasons for you to consider the alternative of ceasing all hormonal contraceptive sales while specifically and publicly citing the breast cancer risk:

1)    Limitation of bad press.  Instead of picking up Bloomberg Businessweek and cringing you would be a step ahead of the curve and your competitors and would be seen as a leader.  People want to see Johnson and Johnson as a company that makes safe products like your shampoo-not products that are becoming controversial, such as oral contraceptives.

2)    Limitation of future lawsuits: Suits against the thrombotic potential of oral contraceptives are increasing and the breast cancer link may well be the next frontier.

3)    It is the right thing to do.   I ask the executives and board members of Johnson and Johnson to simply ask yourselves one question:  knowing what you know today, would you be comfortable if your wife or daughter were to take Johnson and Johnson’s hormonal contraceptive pills?

Thank you for your time and attention.  I will be available for questions and this presentation and its sources will be posted on the Human Life International website.  I have a couple of extra copies for those interested here.

Chris Kahlenborn, MD

She cited the following Sources that you can read below:
1) Mayo Clin Proc. 2006;1290-1302.
2) IARC Monographs. July 29, 2005.
3) Front. Med China. 2009; 452-458.
4) Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009; 1157-66.

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