NOTE AND RECENT CASE DEVELOPMENT: Cure Unwanted? Exploring the Chronic Lyme Disease Controversy and Why Conflicts of Interest in Practice Guidelines May Be Guiding Us Down the Wrong Path Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2012 American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Inc., and Boston University
American Journal of Law & Medicine

NOTE AND RECENT CASE DEVELOPMENT: Cure Unwanted? Exploring the Chronic Lyme Disease Controversy and Why Conflicts of Interest in Practice Guidelines May Be Guiding Us Down the Wrong Path

2012

American Journal of Law & Medicine

38 Am. J. L. and Med. 196

Author

Johanna Ferguson +

Excerpt

I. INTRODUCTION

In 2006, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) published practice guidelines for the assessment, treatment, and prevention of Lyme disease. 2 The guidelines purported to refute the existence of "chronic Lyme disease," 3 a condition that some believe results from persistent Lyme infection even after standard courses of antibiotic treatment. 4 The guidelines, which garnered national attention, 5 were in turn used by physicians and insurers alike as a justification for refusing treatment for chronic Lyme disease. 6 Two years after the IDSA published its guidelines, Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut Attorney General, ordered an investigation into potential conflicts of interest on the part of the panelists who developed the IDSA's Lyme disease practice guidelines. 7 The findings of the investigation were deeply troubling.

Patients and physicians were startled to learn of the pervasive conflicts of interest that came to play in the promulgation of the IDSA guidelines regarding chronic Lyme disease. As Pamela Weintraub noted in her book, Cure Unknown, the very people who wrote the IDSA guidelines were those who stood to profit from them. 8 The authors of the guidelines not only had significant connections to drug companies, related patents, and Lyme diagnostic tests, several were also being paid by insurance companies to corroborate treatment plans that denied treatment for chronic Lyme disease. 9 With so many players from the IDSA standing to gain from the group's narrow definition of Lyme disease, ...
 
 
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