FDA Accused of Deception and
Manipulation by Illinois Governor
Lyme Expert Defends North Carolina Infection Expert, Blasts AP for Many Errors and Takes On Drs. Shapiro and Mead
To the Associated Press,
The story entitled "Doctor Disciplined over Lyme Disease Treatment" (4/14/06) has numerous inaccuracies. First, the title makes it sound like Dr. Jemsek has already been convicted of some crime. Nothing could be further from the truth, as the story finally acknowledges in the fourth paragraph. By then the casual reader has been totally misled.
The story quotes Dr. Paul Mead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who makes comments about the treatment of chronic Lyme disease. Dr. Mead is a research epidemiologist at the CDC. He is not involved in direct patient care, and he has no expertise in the clinical management of patients with chronic Lyme disease. His comments are irrelevant to the thousands of patients suffering from chronic Lyme disease, and his uninformed clinical views are irrelevant to Dr. Jemsek's case.
The story also quotes Dr. Eugene Shapiro, a pediatric researcher from Yale University who helped formulate the now-obsolete Lyme guidelines of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Dr, Shapiro makes another one of his nihilistic comments for which he is notorious:
"It's not that the people diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease don't have problems," he said. "It's that chronic Lyme disease is not the problem."
Over the past decade, it has become obvious that a major problem for people with chronic Lyme disease is Dr. Shapiro himself, who has used his stature as a university professor to spread misinformation about Lyme disease around the country. Sadly there are gullible reporters who blindly print his dismissive statements while ignoring the immense problems with chronic Lyme disease, which confers disability similar to congestive heart failure. Dr. Jemsek is trying to solve those problems. Dr. Shapiro is making them worse.
A story like this one should have included comments from more enlightened physician groups such as the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS, www.ilads.org) and from patient advocacy groups such as the national Lyme Disease Association (LDA, www.lymediseaseassociation.org). Let's hope that the Associated Press does a better job next time.
Raphael Stricker, MD
PO Box 341461
Bethesda, MD 20827
The Battle to Allow American's Freedom to Purchase Affordable Canadian Scripts Reaches New Bizarre Low
"A government that's big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take it all away."
Mary reaches for her cheap canned tuna and crackers. She is pleased that she has enough money to eat well today. After buying her medications at a marked discount from a Canadian source at great savings, she is eating better than last month. Last I checked, the FDA Big Brother network had not offered to pay the difference between the cheaper identical medications from Canada and purchasing them at full price in the USA. The full price was driving her to hunger.
As someone with some relations with brilliant Canadian pharmacists, I am amused that some of the best medications in some classes are available in Canada and have never been available in the USA. But more importantly, the FDA seems to regard Canada as a third world developing country that just discovered fire. The FDA wants to simply control us and protect us from ourselves. Sort of like what you do with a two-year-old infant.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich blasted the spin masters at the FDA for coming up with the bizarre and desperate argument that Mary should not buy her medications from Canada because that could be a source of terrorism.
Specifically, FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford said his top concern about the growing interest by states and cities in drug imports from Canada was that terrorists would contaminate the medicines [italics mine]. He obviously is so disconnected from real people and real medicine as to be freakish. Crawford merely offers simplistic bureaucratic principles, with a clear dissociation from medicine and actual human beings. He is totally unaware of how he sounds and that is really frightening.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Crawford's warning about "alleged dangers" of medicines from Canada "shows once again that the agency is more interested in scare tactics than in helping struggling Americans safely obtain prescription drugs at a price they can afford."
Blagojevich, a Democrat, favors allowing Americans to import cheaper medicines from Canada. Illinois inspectors found "there are significantly fewer opportunities for tampering and counterfeiting (in Canada) than there are here in the United States," he said.
Republican Vermont Governor, Jim Douglas, who plans to sue the FDA over its opposition to drug importation, was also critical.
If Mary imports her medications from our "third world" Canadian neighbors, she is acting illegally. But apparently, our states are coming to the conclusion that the FDA is acting in a manner that opposes the pursuit of life and liberty and is willing to challenge their control obsession. It seems some states do not want the FDA to merely be the bouncer for pharmaceutical drug companies. So despite the illegality of importing medications, many states and cities are pursuing it anyway.
It also appears Congress is considering easing importation restrictions.
The FDA is currently working to limit nutritional claims that have been proven by extensive research, it continually harasses compounding pharmacists who make tailored and creative medications, and attacks and raids centers run by leaders in progressive medicine. And they engage in all these activities, while raiding and closing pharmacy centers that import Canadian medications. Maybe they have too much time and money.
In the land of the free, the FDA is reminding us of the SS and the KGB. It is good they have a finite budget.
How about a budget cut?
Source for the key quotes and facts.
Reuters Health Information 2004
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