Health Through Knowledge

The Serano Group

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Heart of Darkness

Government agencies created the Lyme disease mess.

In the 1980s, U.S. government agencies made bad choices for setting Lyme disease policy. Either the big four of the medical establishment—health insurers, MD trade groups, pharmaceuticals, and hospitals—pushed the agencies, or the agencies themselves directed the policies. The lines are so blurred, it is hard to tell the driving force.

After public health officials gave the “Lyme disease” label to a mischaracterized set of Borrelia infections in the late 1970s, they soon began a campaign of error management, often finding success by formalizing their missteps. Their biggest mistake was they thought they could turn Lyme borreliosis into an easy to treat, geographically limited disease. Then they said tests were better than any facts could justify. Next, they were convinced they could control Lyme disease with a vaccine

They were appallingly wrong each time. Citizens have complained loudly, but not always effectively. Thousands more are kept ignorant of their infections and lives are left in shambles. Health care dollars are squandered as government agencies try to save face and somehow turn all this into a money-maker for private interests producing test kits and vaccines.

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Posted by Joel Spinhirne
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