Recently, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an article titled “With overactive bladder, drug companies helped create a $3 billion market.” In the article, the authors insinuate that OAB, as a condition, is mostly made up by drug companies to create a market need. As an organization that has helped countless people find treatment as they struggle with Overactive Bladder, and has seen first hand the debilitating effects that OAB has had on so many lives, NAFC vehemently objects to this article. Below is our response, sent as an open letter to the editor, from NAFC’s Executive Director, Steve Gregg, Ph.D.
“To Whom it May Concern:
We recently read your article in the October 16th, 2016 Sunday edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel entitled “With overactive bladder, drug companies helped create a $3 billion market”. As a patient advocacy organization we take exception to the article. We can categorically state that OAB is a condition that does in fact affect millions of patients in the US.
OAB is a term created to help patients understand the condition of urge urinary incontinence (UUI). UUI is not just about the need to go to the bathroom but is most often association with an increase in urinary frequency and accidents. This condition has been shown to increase feeling of isolation, depression and a general loss in quality of life. And based on the number of individuals contacting NAFC each day we know this is a real condition with real consequences.
Our organization is dedicated to helping individuals and their families facing the challenges of incontinence overcoming the stigma associated with bladder and bowel conditions. Your article reinforces the misguided idea that bladder conditions such as OAB are simply the effect of aging, or childbearing and poor toileting habits or worse just a made up condition to allow pharma companies to generate revenue. Currently, women wait on average 7 years from the onset of symptoms to seeking medical treatment. The reasons for this lengthy wait time are well documented, but embarrassment and lack of awareness of treatment options are sited most frequently.
We implore you to consider patients and their need for access to medical care and effective treatment options when writing about conditions that are hard to treat, especially when patients feel embarrassed to discuss their conditions with healthcare providers. It may help you to talk to actual patients about their frustrations and what it is like to live with a condition that is often dismissed. At NAFC we feel strongly that these patients need our support and assistance to find the care they need and the treatment options they deserve.
We are disappointed in tone and tenor of your article regarding patients and their need to find medically appropriate treatment options for OAB. We hope that you will address this obvious misrepresentation in the near future.
Steven G. Gregg, Ph.D.
The National Association For Continence”
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