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Dr D. McCormick, Consultant Paediatrician, East Kent, U.K.

We have had permission from Dr McCormick to reproduce a letter he wrote in October 2000 to a Journalist for the Daily Express Newspaper here in the U.K. regarding Eye Q.

The article was one of many which were written around that time which gave rise to many fears about the use of medication in the U.K. as treatment for ADD/ADHD. Majority of the articles were written about parents who had tried various Natural Remedies, including Eye Q and Efalex, and were convinced that these worked for their child and that the use of medication was not necessary for the treatment of ADD/ADHD.

Dr McCormick had a number of parents contact him worried about the way the article portrayed medication and they were very concerned for their children. Dr McCormick felt so strongly about the way these articles represented the condition of ADD/ADHD and the treatment with medication that he wrote to the journalist expressing his concerns.

Dr McCormick does say that some parents have had a good response to the use of Efalex and that it is his impression that "it has led to a marginal improvement in their mood stability and sometimes concentration, but this effect has been much less than I have observed with psycho-stimulant medication such as Methyphenidate or Dexamphetamine. Some parents feel that their children respond to a quite high dose of the Efalex"

A copy of Dr McCormicks letter follows:

24 October 2000

Ms Helen Foster
The Daily Express

Dear Ms Foster

re: "Natural Oil That Calmed My Wild Son"

The parent of one of the children I see for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder sent me a copy of your article to ask my opinion about the use of agents such as Eye Q. I told her that fatty acid preparations for treatment of children with ADHD and related problems have been around for some time, including high doses of oil of evening primrose and products such as Efalex. I reviewed some data on the latter product for the UK Dyspraxia Trust some years ago, noting that it seemed to help the children's behaviour more than it did their coordination.

I am writing to raise my concern about the irresponsible and inaccurate references made to Methylphenidate in your article. I have practised medicine in two other countries and on returning to the UK in 1995, was surprised to see how far behind other countries the UK was with respect to the recognition of ADHD. You may be aware that Methylphenidate has only been licenced for use in this country since 1995. It has only ever been licenced for use in children aged 5 and over and so your comments that it is no longer recommended for children under 5 is inaccurate. To include such comments as "a drug so strong it has been described as kiddie cocaine" or "on drug classification lists, Ritalin is one down from Heroine in terms of effects on the body" is hugely inaccurate and irresponsible. I am not sure which drug classification list you are referring to but Heroine is an opiate and Methylphenidate is an amphetamine-like substance. It is true that Methylphenidate is over-prescribed in the United States, but predictions that one in seven children will be taking it by the year 2007 are clearly inaccurate as the rate in increase over the last five years reflects the fact that ADHD was under-recognised and under-treated in the UK and I am sure that prescription rates will level out in the near future. I take part in a national paediatric psycho-pharmacology group in which consultant paediatricians, consultant child psychiatrists and other professionals meet to discuss matters and appropriate treatment for children with behavioural, developmental and psychiatric disorders. We take this matter very seriously. I would suggest that in future if you are to write about conditions which affect a large number of children and with which many, parents struggle you seek to be a little more accurate in the information you include, or more prudent in the statements which you chose to quote.

Fortunately, the parent who forwarded me the article had sufficient judgement to not be alarmed by the statements, but I doubt that every parent will be able to exercise the same judgement. I am happy to correspond with you further about the matter should you so wish.

Yours sincerely

Dr D McCormick
Consultant Paediatrician

We would like to thank Dr McCormick for allowing to reproduce this.

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