Procter & Gamble\'s letter-from-doctor policy

Posted on: Fri, 01/24/2003 - 12:22pm
abers's picture
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Joined: 10/11/2001 - 09:00

Switching over from the Main Discussion board....

Procter & Gamble has instituted a policy of requiring a letter from a doctor before they will respond to questions about ingredients in their non-food products. (I don't know what their policy is for food products.) They respond to inquiries with a form letter from someone claiming to suffer from allergies saying they need a letter from a doctor, for our "safety," and ending by saying "if your doctor is anything like mine, I'm sure he or she will be happy" to send a letter. I would like to challenge this policy.

I did it on my own by writing them a letter describing the life-threatening nature of my sons's peanut allergy (see below), and they actually did respond to me, saying they were making an exception to their policy. Then I posted here on the main discussion board, and at least one other person has gotten the same response, and someone else has already tried sending them an e-mail about a different product.

Here is what I suggest: Write an e-mail to P&G about one of their products. Chances are you already use several of them. You can go to their website at [url="http://www.proctergamble.com"]http://www.proctergamble.com[/url] and click on "Contact Us" in the upper left box. That brings you to a page where you can select a product to e-mail about (there's a whole list in a drop-down menu). After a while (a few days to a week?) you'll probably get the form response. Please post here if you do, including which product you asked about. THEN, if you're up for taking the next step (and I understand if you just want to stop there...), write a snail mail letter to the attention of the person the doctor's letter is supposed go to (they will specify in the response). I'm posting the letter I wrote below. See if you then get a response to that letter (they called me)...and post here about what happens.

I hope we can get at least few people to do what I did and get them to make an exception. I will then try contacting someone higher up in the company to voice our complaints about this ridiculous policy -- and I'll be able to say I'm speaking on behalf of many parents who have tried to get info. on their products. If I can say something like, "Since you seem to make exceptions to this policy for life-threatening allergies, why don't you just change the policy?"...all the better.

Here is the letter that I wrote that got them to respond:
---------------------------------------------
Consumer Relations
PO Box 599
Cincinnati OH 45201
Attn: Lori McNamara

Dear Ms. McNamara:

My child suffers from a life-threatening allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. He almost died last year after having an anaphylactic reaction. Reactions can be triggered not only by ingestion, but by contact and inhalation. I know that seems incredible, but it is true -- as much as I wish it were not. These are not "allergies" in sense that we usually think of them.

I am interested in using Pantene shampoos and conditioners for my family, but before I bring them into our home it is important that I found out if they contain any peanut or nut products. So, I recently sent an e-mail to [url="http://www.pantene.com"]www.pantene.com[/url] to ask whether there are any peanut or nut products in Pantene shampoos or conditioners. I found the response extremely frustrating. I was told that I need to provide written verification from a doctor to this address before my question could be researched.

I can assure you that my child's allergist will tell you nothing more than what I have already told you. My two-year-old son suffers from a life-threatening allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. As I said, he almost died last year after having an anaphylactic reaction. Part of the routine for parents of children with life-threatening allergies is contacting manufacturers to ask about ingredients -- and because reactions can be triggered by contact or inhalation, as well as ingestion, we sometimes need to contact manufacturers of non-edible products. (although with a two-year-old, there's no guarantee that shampoo won't be eaten! This makes it even more crucial that I find out what the ingredients are).

No other company has ever asked me to provide written verification from a doctor. As I am constantly contacting manufacturers it would be absurd for me to have to ask my child's allergist for verification every time. If you need to refer my request to someone higher in the chain of command please do so. Requiring a note from a doctor is a completely unnecessary road block that serves only to delay -- the doctor can provide you with no extra information than what I have given you. If you need more specific information than what I have already given you, please contact me. Then, if truly necessary, I will ask my child's doctor. But I highly doubt that that will be necessary.

I was hoping that you could tell me which Pantene products, if any, I should avoid. If that is impossible, I am particularly interested in Pantene Pro-V Conditioner "Sheer Volume," Bar code # 8087800523.

I am just a mom trying to protect my child's life. All I ask is that you do your best to answer my question about ingredients. Throwing up hurdles gives me the message that you do not really care about helping your customers. If you cannot help me without requiring me to jump through hoops, I will simply not use your products.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Posted on: Tue, 01/28/2003 - 12:57am
abers's picture
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Joined: 10/11/2001 - 09:00

Re-raising...

Posted on: Wed, 01/29/2003 - 4:02am
Jana R's picture
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Joined: 02/09/1999 - 09:00

You wrote a concise, calm letter - well done! I hope it gets to the right person.

Posted on: Thu, 01/30/2003 - 6:11am
Heather2's picture
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Joined: 09/25/2001 - 09:00

What I want them to understand is that we families of food allergies are very brand loyal. Other people who do not deal with allergies clip coupons and look for sales. Once we find a brand we like and trust, we stick with it and recommend it to other families who deal with food allergies.
By the way, I think your letter is great. I'm going to write one, too.

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