They want ta' legislate the moon
They want ta' legislate the womb
They wanna legislate all the things they hate
They want ta' legislate this tune
Hmm, Whatever happened to Grant Lee Buffalo? Ahh, they broke up in 1999 (thank you Wikipedia) - that explains why they've been quiet.
Anyhow, that brings us to today's topic - should we legislate what are essentially medical issue? Connecticut thinks so. In July last year House Bill 6200 passed through the Connecticut House of Representatives by unanimous approval (137 for, 0 against). What does this bill do? It protect Connecticut licensed Lyme treating physicians from prosecution by the State of Connecticut Medical Examining Board solely on the basis of a clinical diagnosis and /or for treatment of long-term Lyme disease - thus allowing them to provide long term antibiotic treatment for people with chronic lyme disease (and also sufferers from Post-Lyme disease syndrome).
Sounds reasonable? Except that in patients who have non-specific symptoms after being treated for Lyme disease, and no evidence of active infection (so called Post-Lyme disease syndrome or PLDS), studies have shown that more antibiotic therapy is not helpful and can be dangerous.
Read this report from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (part of NIH). Read this letter regarding the bill sent by the Infectious Disease society of America.
I write on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) to urge you to oppose the enactment of Connecticut House Bill No. 5625, which sanctions the use of long-term antibiotic therapy to treat Lyme disease and would protect physicians, who administer such therapies, from disciplinary action. In urging your opposition to this legislation, our primary concern is to ensure the best quality in patient care and to protect the public’s health and safety. To this end, we believe it is critically important that you be fully apprised of the widespread consensus within the medical and scientific community about the appropriate treatment of Lyme disease, as well as the medical community’s concerns about unproven, potentially harmful treatments for so called “chronic” Lyme disease that are advocated by a small group of physicians.
Carefully designed and conducted studies of Lyme disease treatments have failed to demonstrate benefit from prolonged antibiotic therapy. Rather, these studies have demonstrated that there is no difference in the measured improvement between patients receiving placebo and patients treated with antibiotics.
Furthermore, the scientific evidence that long-term antibiotic therapy may be dangerous, leading to potentially fatal infections in the bloodstream as a result of intravenous treatment. Far from improving the patient’s quality of life, prolonged antibiotic therapy may actually increase the patient’s suffering. Also, although the bacteria that causes Lyme disease does not acquire resistance to antibiotics, long-term antibiotic exposure can lead to drug-resistance among other microorganisms, creating “superbugs” that cannot be treated with currently available drugs.
I think we can expect to see more bills like this. It is the government's job to protect us from those who offer false hope and possibly dangerous 'cures' not to enable them.