CEOs Called On To Join Cancer Prevention Initiative

April 18, 2006 ( - Six companies have so far signed on to a US-led initiative to urge corporate executives to do what they can to help employees and their families battle cancer.

A news release said that those that have already signed on to the CEO Cancer Gold Standard initiative include the American Cancer Society, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, and OSI Pharmaceuticals.

The initiative is an apparent answer to President Bush’s call for corporations to do something to combat cancer, the release said. It requires companies to evaluate their benefits and culture and then promote cancer prevention, early detection, and access to quality care for all of its US employees and their dependents, in all US facilities. Cancer cost companies more than $118 billion in lost productivity in 2005 and resulted in medical costs five times higher than those for employees without cancer.

Some of the requirements for accreditation include providing benefit plans that offer complete coverage for employees seeking counseling and non-prescription drugs to quit smoking. Organizations must also implement programs aimed at improving employees’ diet and nutrition, such as health screenings and access to cancer treatment and clinical trials.

“Through our programs, policies, and communications channels, CEOs can do much to encourage healthy living and quality care,” said William Weldon, chief executive officer of Johnson & Johnson and chairman of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, in the release. “In 2006 alone, close to 1.4 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer, and sadly, nearly 565,000 people will die from the disease,” he added.

For more information on the CEO Cancer Gold Standard and the accreditation process, call 866-526-7830, a dedicated toll-free number staffed by the American Cancer Society, or visit .