In a press release last month congratulating CVS for its decision to stop selling deadly cigarettes, the American Cancer Society (ACS) wrote that: "policies that restrict access to tobacco products, reduce exposure to tobacco advertising, and limit the places that people smoke have a direct effect on reduced smoking rates, especially among youth. And that’s what makes this move so significant: community pharmacists play a key role in health and wellness and CVS Caremark has taken a bold step to demonstrate its commitment to healthy lifestyles and the prevention of disease."
Given that position, you might think that the American Cancer Society would be critical of Walgreens, arguably the largest remaining pharmacy chain which still sells deadly cigarettes, which kill more than 400,000 Americans each year. And naturally, you might expect that the ACS would criticize Walgreens on its web site and that it would point out the hypocrisy of this corporation selling medications to treat heart and lung disease at the same time it is selling the consumer product which is most responsible for causing these very diseases.
But no ... there is no criticism of Walgreens on the ACS web site. Instead, the American Cancer Society offers nothing but praise for this corporation. In fact, the ACS goes so far as to highlight Walgreens as a corporation that is "making a difference," giving it its own call-out page to help promote Walgreens' sales.
The American Cancer Society goes so far as to provide a special profile of Walgreens and to tell its members that Walgreens is making huge contributions to the protection of the public's health. Apparently, the ACS even provided Walgreens with a special award for its contibutions to public health.
What the ACS does not tell its readers is that Walgreens is full of hypocrisy: despite its pretentions that it is committed to the public's health, it continues to sell cigarettes; this is the single most devastating thing that this corporation could possibly do to decimate the public's health. But the American Cancer Society's profile of Walgreens is curiously silent on this issue. The ACS is trying to hide this from the public.
The American Cancer Society actually goes as far as calling Walgreens "a leader in the fight against cancer."
The Rest of the Story
Sadly, through its hypocrisy, the American Cancer Society has removed itself from being a "leader in the fight against cancer." Because a leader in the fight against cancer would never praise, award, and cite as a leader in the cancer fight a corporation which is selling deadly cigarettes that are killing hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. Walgreens' products are causing decimation, destruction, and suffering to families throughout the country. No - Walgreens' is no leader in the fight against cancer. Walgreen's is profiting off people getting cancer. That is sick and disgusting. It is not something to be rewarded. And it is certainly not an example of leadership in fighting cancer. On the contrary, Walgreens is causing cancer through the sale of its products.
The American Cancer Society's failure to recognize this, and its thinly-veiled efforts to hide the truth from the American public, are even more disgusting because while Walgreens is a corporation whose goal is to make money, the American Cancer Society is supposed to be fighting cancer.
After Peter Bach exposed the blatant hypocrisy of the ACS in his stinging New York Times piece, the ACS responded not by publicly blasting Walgreens for selling cancer-causing products, but instead, praised the corporation and further highlighted its financial contributions to the Society.
Clearly, the ACS has been bought off by the money that Walgreens is contributing. The Society cannot even stop praising Walgreens for its donations in a letter to the editor which is purportedly defending itself against the accusation that it is accepting donations from Walgreens!
The rest of the story is that the American Cancer Society has sold itself out for money. It has sacrificed its principles and betrayed its mission in order to not offend a corporation which is one of the chief contributors to the cancer epidemic.
On its web site, the ACS kisses up to the Chief Executive Officer of Walgreens, claiming that he truly believes that: "Being in the business of dispensing products and services to help people
live well, stay well and get well means getting behind efforts to
prevent disease, not just treat it."
This is complete crap. If the CEO of Walgreens truly believed that his corporation should get behind efforts to prevent disease, then the first thing he would do is stop selling the product that is the number one preventable cause of disease in the nation. If he were sincere, he would stop selling cigarettes.
That the American Cancer Society is promoting this crap on its web site is disgusting. It shows how low this organization has sunk and how little integrity it has left. Very little now separates the ACS from Walgreens. Both are selling out the public's health in order to make a buck. But at least Walgreens' is a corporation whose primary goal is to make money. The American Cancer Society is supposed to be fighting cancer.
According to the ACS itself: "A few months after Wasson took over as CEO in 2009, Walgreens received
the first American Cancer Society Corporate Impact Award for Excellence
in recognition of efforts by the company and employees to help create a
world with less cancer and more birthdays."
If Walgreens were truly interested in helping create a world with less cancer and more birthdays, it would stop selling cigarettes. Period.
Today, I want to give my own award out. It goes to the American Cancer Society for the most blazen act of hypocrisy by an anti-smoking organization in 2014. And the engraving on the plaque will state: "To the American Cancer Society: for selling out its principles for corporate donations."