Why Is the CDC Allowing a Private Group to Determine Federal Policy on Lyme Disease?
Excerpted from Truth Out: (10/15/2015)
IDSA emphasizes the guidelines are voluntary, but CDC’s endorsement is effectively an official seal of approval, so many physicians feel compelled to comply and insurance companies are supported in refusing to cover non-IDSA compliant care.
Since they were first published in 2000, the guidelines that most doctors follow for the treatment of Lyme disease have been the subject of intense controversy, including an antitrust investigation by the state of Connecticut and hundreds of protests.
Doctors rely on “clinical practice guidelines” to determine how best to treat patients, and insurance companies use them to decide what treatments to cover. The Centers for DiseaseControl Prevention (CDC) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) worked closelyto develop the controversial IDSA guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.
The view enforced by IDSA is that Lyme disease is easy to diagnose and simple to treat with a limited course of antibiotics. According to the IDSA guidelines, chronic Lyme does not exist and long-term antibiotic treatment is not warranted. The IDSA guidelines are followed by most physicians and used by insurers to determine limits on coverage.
The alternative paradigm, represented by the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), maintains that Lyme disease is a serious national medical problem that needsto be researched, diagnosed, and treated aggressively. The ILADS guidelines recognize chronicLyme and recommend that the “duration of therapy be guided by clinical response, rather than by an arbitrary treatment course.”
Despite serious flaws, the CDC continues to promote the IDSA guidelines, extending preferential treatment to them, while omitting information about the guidelines set forth by the InternationalLyme and Associated Diseases Society.
In addition to causing harm to patients, CDC’s preferential treatment and participation in clandestine advisory meetings with authors of the IDSA guidelines violates federal law.