Saturday, May 2, 2009

Another brick in the wall: AAPS on the IDSA Lyme Guidelines

The American Association of Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) takes a stand against the IDSA Lyme Guidelines.

A much more clever blogger would come up with some insightful alternative lyrics for you. That will have to wait for a day when the brain fog is a bit clearer -- or for a clever reader! For today, the classic lyrics will have to do.

"We don't need no thought control..."

Let doctors do their job for goodness sake! This would seem to be the general theme of AAPS comments on the IDSA Lyme Guidelines posted on their website last week. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, with thousands of members across the USA representing a broad spectrum of medical disciplines, seeks to promote the practice of good and ethical medicine.

The AAPS objects to the "overly rigid" stance promoted by the IDSA Lyme Guidelines. Doctors require some flexibility to be able to effectively do their jobs. The IDSA's excessive requirements for diagnostic test confirmation and restriction of doctor clinical judgement simply go too far. This statement by the AAPS sums it up beautifully: "Medical societies do not practice medicine; physicians do."

"No dark sarcasm in the classroom..."

A recent New York Times article (Harvard Medical School in Ethics Quandary), about inappropriate big pharma influence on America's medical schools, highlights a related problem. Are medical students being taught truly good medicine or what big pharma calls good medicine ($$$)? A movement, which began 4 years ago with a concerned first year medical student, now includes more than 200 students and faculty who are "intent on exposing and curtailing the industry influence in their classrooms and laboratories." According to the American Medical Student Association, the prestigious Harvard currently scores an "F" in this category.

Such conflict of interest is the sort of thing that got the IDSA into trouble in the first place. As explained by science writer Kris Newby in the Lyme documentary Under Our Skin, several of the original IDSA Lyme Guidelines panelists had undeclared conflicts of interest relating to big pharma and the medical insurance industries. The same conclusion was reached when the Connecticut Attorney General wrapped up the historic anti-trust investigation of the IDSA last year. This on top of the IDSA's blatant refusal to give meaningful consideration to the abundant information supporting the existence of Chronic Lyme disease.

"I have seen the writing on the wall..."

With the public input period to the new IDSA Lyme Guidelines panel now closed, we wait with great anticipation for the "open" public hearings that have been rescheduled for July 30th in Washington DC.

Could it be that the perfect storm of medical experience, science, and political fortitude is finally reaching a long awaited convergence? Oh, let's hope so.

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