Thursday, May 6, 2010
LYME DISEASE PRESS RELEASE
Astonishment As Medical Panel Rubber Stamps Its Own Controversial Guidelines
Researchers on the sidelines tell thousands of sufferers that chronic Lyme doesn't exist; no viable alternative explanations given
Contact: Robert Bransfield, MD, DLFAPA
President, International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society
Email: bransfield@comcast. net
April 27, 2010
Betheseda, Maryland - Despite years of controversy, an antitrust lawsuit
by the Connecticut Attorney General, and nine months of review, the
Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) double downed on its own
controversial Lyme disease treatment guidelines with a status quo
decision critics call "highly suspect".
"It's a sad day for the health care system and for everyone who suffers
from the Lyme disease epidemic," says Dr. Robert Bransfield, President
of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS). "The
IDSA's flawed positions means patients will continue to suffer with
incorrect diagnosis and improper treatment." Treatment guidelines are
crucial when it comes to healthcare because they may dictate whether
patients can get diagnosed and treated for illnesses and whether or not
insurance companies will pay for it.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal launched an
investigation against the IDSA citing evidence that the authors of 2006
Lyme disease guidelines had undisclosed conflicts of interest that may
have influenced their conclusions. He also charged that they failed to
consider differing medical opinions. This landmark event represented
the first ever lawsuit against a professional medical society for
The much anticipated verdict just released by a special review panel
effectively rubber stamped the association' s earlier, contested
guidelines. It limits treatment to three to four weeks of antibiotics.
Physicians, Lyme patients and advocacy groups weren't surprised but are
dismayed that the panel decided to turn its back on the science - backed
by 1300 pages of peer-reviewed articles, that proves Lyme disease can
become chronic, debilitating and can be missed due to unreliable testing
(as acknowledged by the CDC and FDA). Hundreds of thousands of patients
and their families suffer from chronic Lyme disease. "By and large, the
people on the IDSA panel who made this decision are ivory tower
researchers" , says Bransfield. "They're not the doctors on the front
lines looking into the eyes and faces of these very sick patients,
performing exams and then assuming long term responsibility for dealing
with patients suffering from chronic Lyme.
Bransfield and ILADS point to a number of discrepancies and other
concerns about the vote, including:
• 68 out of 69 of the original 2006 recommendation under review
were OK'd with unanimous votes. "How can there be such a total consensus with any scientific issue?" asked Bransfield. "It's highly suspect and beyond comprehension. "
• If Lyme cannot be chronic, then why did the guideline's authors
acquire 200 Lyme disease patents and receive $76 million in Federal
funds to study it?
• The original guidelines are not only controversial, but written in
2006, are considered old and out of date.
• The CDC has also advised for many years that the disease should be
diagnosed on clinical grounds and not by unreliable laboratory tests.
The Lyme disease tests are inaccurate 50% of the time.
• The IDSA's decision reinforces that doctors have little control
when it comes to treating diseases such as Lyme. Researchers and
insurance companies remain in the driver's seat of diagnosis and treatment.
Lyme disease has reached epidemic levels across the United States. While
the CDC reports 30,000 new cases a year, it recognizes that number could
be as high as 300,000, making it a larger epidemic than AIDS.
Dr. Bransfield says ensuring the integrity of guideline development
processes as they were intended to be used is critical to quality health
care in the United States. "Conflicts of interest on guidelines panels
are now a crisis," Bransfield says, "It is time for Americans to realize
how important the issue of guideline development is. Patient lives are
at stake and no one is being held accountable when guidelines abuse
place financial interests above patient care."
Robert Bransfield, MD, DLFAPA, is available for media interviews on this
and other Lyme related topics. He can be reached at:
225 Highway 35
Red Bank, NJ 07701
Email: bransfield@comcast. net