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Charles Medawar,

21st February 2000

Social Audit Ltd,
P.O. Box 11
London NW1 8XE


Dear Charles Medawar,

Thank you for your letter and enclosures of 14th February. Please, at the risk of being boring, may I repeat my stance on this issue of Detrusitol.

When I offered to do the voice-over free of charge for Pharmacia and Upjohn for their series of television commercials, encouraging women with incontinence problems to seek medical help, I was totally uninterested in the sort of therapy people would be offered, once they got to their doctors. What concerned me then, and concerns me now, is that there is a huge unmet need in the community for women who suffer a great deal because of urinary incontinence and are too shy, too embarrassed or too alarmed by it, to seek medical help.

Once they can be encouraged to seek medical help, a good deal can be done for them - often, mainly, through the field of physiotherapy. There are a number of therapies that can be offered and, yes, a number of drugs, of which Detrusitol is only one - and if it's not a good one, then it won't be used by doctors who find it fails them. I certainly was not pushing a particular drug in taking part in those commercials, and I would maintain that I have not done so by taking part in those commercials.

The basic battle I am fighting (and I thank you for the kind things you say about the battles I have fought) is for patient information. I believe that patients can handle far more information than they are currently given; that the need to be paternalistic and controlling of all information given to patients is greatly exaggerated; that DCTA will do patients no harm because, ultimately, the ' control of prescription drugs is in the hands of prescribing doctors. The fact that patients have information about them does not make them more vulnerable; quite the reverse.

I do hope this makes my point clear and we are able to put this correspondence to bed.

As for a two year moratorium on DTCA to give everyone "space and time to examine the issues" well, if people need that much, then fair enough. But what I object to is the suggestion that patients are not capable of coping with information offered to them in this way.

Yours etc.
Claire Rayner


PO Box 935, Harrow, Middlesex HA1 3YJ    Telephone: 0181 423 9111 (Administration)    0181 423 8999 (Patient-line)    Fax:  0181 423 9119
Company Limited by Guarantee.   Registered Charity No.  1006733.   Registered in Cardiff  No. 2620761
Registered Office: Isis House, Northwick & St. Marks NHS Trust, Watford Road, Harrow,  Middlesex   HA1 3YS


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