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list price: $39.95
also available: eBook
category: Social Science
published: July 2017
publisher: UBC Press

Health Advocacy, Inc.

How Pharmaceutical Funding Changed the Breast Cancer Movement

by Sharon Batt

tagged: disease & health issues, cancer, fundraising & grants

Health activist, scholar, award-winning journalist, and cancer survivor Sharon Batt investigates the relationship between patient advocacy groups and the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the contentious role of pharma funding. Over the past several decades, a gradual reduction in state funding has pressured patient groups into forming private-sector partnerships. This analysis of Canada’s breast cancer movement from 1990 to 2010 argues that the resulting power imbalance undermined the groups’ ability to put patients’ interests ahead of those of the funders. A movement that once encouraged democratic participation in the development of health policy now eerily echoes the demands of the pharmaceutical industry.

About the Author

Sharon Batt

Contributor Notes

Sharon Batt is an independent scholar and adjunct professor in the Department of Bioethics at Dalhousie University and a research affiliate of the university’s Technoscience and Regulation Research Unit. A survivor of breast cancer, she co-founded Breast Cancer Action Québec in 1991.


Batt was a founding member of Canada’s first feminist magazine, the Edmonton-based Branching Out, and for six years was an editor for the consumer magazine Protect Yourself. Her documentary on cancer for CBC Radio’s Ideas won the Major Armstrong award; her book Patient No More: The Politics of Breast Cancer won the Laura Jamieson Award for feminist non-fiction.

Editorial Review

Batt’s revelations about the relationship between patient advocacy groups and the pharmaceutical industry are vital and disturbing.

— Maisonneuve

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