The issue of funding from the pharmaceutical industry split the breast cancer movement in Canada, giving rise to a corporatized advocacy focused on gaining access to new drugs. Versions of this pharma-funded health advocacy now exist throughout high-income democracies, threatening the equitable distribution of health-promoting resources. Dr. Batt will discuss the competing discourses of advocacy, social justice, and health that splintered the breast cancer movement and examine their links to the neoliberal restructuring of the state. Given signs of shifting political sands, she invites seminar participants to engage in imagining a project to rebuild feminist organizations that integrate critique, progressive education and social justice.
Sharon Batt is an adjunct professor and researcher in bioethics at Dalhousie University whose current work is at the intersection of feminist advocacy, health policy and neo-liberal politics. She is a co-founder of Breast Cancer Action Quebec and and author of the books, Patient No More: The Politics of Breast Cancer, and (forthcoming) Health Advocacy Inc.: How Pharmaceutical Funding Changed the Breast Cancer Movement.