Campaign Focus – Vested Interests

Vested Interests – definitions

 

 A strong personal interest in something because you could get an advantage.

Cambridge English Dictionary

If you have a vested interest in something, you have a very strong reason for acting in a particular way, for example to protect your money, power, or reputation. Only those with vested interests in the current system could ignore the need for change.

British English Dictionary

 

What do we mean by vested interests?
Once you appreciate the various ‘stakeholders’ in the cancer industry, you come to understand how vested interests are able to close down debate on environmental and occupational links to breast cancer – and along with it – prevent funding getting into prevention.

We consider ‘vested interests’ to be a major barrier to getting primary prevention onto the public and political agenda. It is precisely because vested interests are a relatively unexplored, diffuse and covert field of enquiry in relation to breast cancer prevention, that we believe this work should be undertaken and why it is worthy of a campaign-style focus.

We want to break new ground by speaking out on the ‘vested interests’ that prevent the widening of the breast cancer debate.

Vested Interests

Q:  Why is the time right to start asking these questions?

A: Because civil society has learned to question the self-interested behaviour of big business and powerful lobby groups – including those that may appear beyond reproach or criticism.

We have learned that governments are increasingly led by business interests; we know that this combines to ensure the public only ever get that part of the story that they want you to hear.

This means that while you need to know the questions to ask if you want to dig deeper to understand what is going on, the big ‘Pink-driven’ cancer campaigns won’t point you in that direction; nor will government or industry.

Q:  How might  ‘vested interests’ manifest themselves as barriers to the advancement of primary prevention strategies for breast cancer?

A: In many ways..

  • They may ignore research findings  or dismiss research findings as inconclusive.
  • Persistently promote the mantra of lifestyle factors.
  • Pass the buck and side-step environmental and/or occupational factors agenda by perhaps claiming it’s not in their remit – or worse, they don’t want to ‘alarm’ women.
  • Have a preoccupation with self-interest above wider public health interests.
  • A resistance to any disturbance of the status quo.
  • A dependency on industry funding could lead to a research bias.
  • Through sophisticated one sided messaging and communication strategies provided to a compliant media (with some notable exceptions) by industry, pharma, and other self interested organisations.
  • Domination of the Breast Cancer issue and agenda by (pink) market-driven interests.

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Q:  Who or what are the ‘vested interests’ that gain from this omission? 

A: Any individual, organisation, industry or commercial enterprise engaged in the development, manufacture, provision or marketing of goods, services  and items required for each and every aspect and phase of the disease e.g. material, technological, medical, pharmacological, diagnostic, cosmetic.

Any individual whose financial and career security, peer group and professional status, are dependent upon disease continuity.

Q:  Is it unrealistic to put certain vested interests in the same frame as the tobacco and sugar industries which spin their products to appear safe when they know otherwise?

A: No.

Pink Ribbon Inc.’ (book and film) powerfully places the breast cancer issue in the context of big business – pink-washing by many corporates that themselves are part of the wider polluting picture: car companies and cosmetics to name but two. 

Equally, drugs and chemicals companies are major corporate players in the breast cancer debate.  They have incredible lobbying clout in the places that matter – the EU and Washington – and have the ears of government on matters such as health, trade and environment policy.

Both the tobacco and sugar industries behave in exactly the same way.

Q:  Could ‘vested interests’ explain why the issue of ‘prevention’ is so marginalized – or even willfully hidden?

A: You decide. We invite you to follow the money and the influence, in exploring and revealing what some of these key ‘vested interests’ are and their potential impact on breast cancer policy, from government through to the cancer establishment.  

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Stopping Breast Cancer Before It Starts. From Pink to Prevention asks breast cancer charities, government and industry to act upon the evidence linking environmental and occupational links to breast cancer.

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