Implant Veterans of Toxic Exposure

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Dow funded studies

New Dow Corning exec relieves concerns of employees.

Worldwide--February 11, 1992
Letter from Larry McKennon
Dear Fellow Dow Corning Colleague:
Hello!  Today is m first day on the job and I was to tell you how proud I am to be on your team
Dow Corning is one of the greatest success stories of the last 50 years.  We are the acknowledged world leader in the silicone industry and we've contributed advances to technology in everything from medicine to outer space.  We have a terrific record and much to be proud of.  Today we are taking a lot of criticism about our activites related to the breast implantbusiness.  But, let's all keep in mind our remarkable achievements as we work our way through this difficult time.
As you've heard, I will be spending most of my time working on the breast implant issue.  I'd like to share with you a few thoughts about that as I begin my new job.
I believe my, and Dow Corning's, overriding responsibility is to the women using silicone mammary implant devices, and especially to those with devices manufactured by Dow Corning.  We, along with the FDA and others, simply must provide the information necessary to permit women to make informed decisions about these devices.
We will cooperate fully with the FDA and with its advisory panel.  I am assured that we have already provided all the information known to Dow Corning which might be relevant to their deliberations, and I will verify that again.
We also have a responsibility to develop additional information, if that information is needed to permit informed choices to be made.
Dow Corning is funding a major study at the University of Michigan Medical Center, and another at New Your University, which we believe can provide important answers.  But we are prepared to go further.  We want to sit down with the FDA, with the advisory panel, with responsible physicians and surgeons on both sides of the controversy to see if we can reach consensus on what, if any, additional scientific studies are necessary.  If we can reach consensus, Dow Corning is prepared to fund the necessary research.
I am personally convinced these devices fill an important medical need, and do not pose an unreasonable risk to users.  More importantly, thoughtful and able physicians and surgeons all across America agree.  But it must be said that there are some thoughtful and able physicians who disagree.  Again, I believe Dow Corning has a responsibility to play a key role in resolving those differences.  We owe that to those who are using our implant devices.
I also believe there may be other actions Dow Corning can take on behalf of implant users, and I will be discussing those with my Dow Corning colleagues over the next few days, and expect to discuss them publicly soon thereafter.
I have seen most of the documents we released Monday, and I must say that some of them, taken alone, do not reflect credit on Dow Corning.
We need to consider three things:
(1)  The 10 or so most painful memos were culled from thousands and thousands of pages of exhibits, memos, and documents by plaintiff attorneys whose objective is to discredit Dow Corning.  I have not yet had a chance to review the entire body of information to sii if, taken in todal, a different picture emerges.  I will do so.
(2)  Many of Dow Corning's critics are apply 1990's standards to 1970's memos and studies.
(3)  Responses, written at the time to these memos, have largely disappeared.  I really regret that, because if we had them, I believe they would paint a different and better picture of Dow Corning's actions and responsiveness to the questions raised by the memos.
Finally, I want to say how pleased I am that Judge Griffin Bell, a man universally acclaimped for his integrity, is conducting and independent review of Dow Corning's actions, programs, and procedures.  He will  get complete access, have complete freedome, and we will make his findings and recommendations available to the public.
Dow Corning has built a tremendoius reputation over the past 50 years;  we're not going to lose it in 50 days.  Let's remember that too, and the great future we all have with this company.
Information for Dow Corning employees        
Published by Internal Communications, CO200, 496-5409

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