April 11, 2004
Poughkeepsie Journal [reprint below with extra spacing added]
To the Editor:
The rationale for denying medical treatment to sick people was recently presented by the President/CEO of the New York Health Plan Association (NYHPA). The NYHPA urges the denial of medicine to sick people to avoid diminishing the effectiveness of antibiotics, which, if taken to the logical conclusion, would result in denying all medication to all ill people.
The NYPHA letter seems to refer to a 2001 study, which concluded that long-term antibiotic treatment was not effective against Lyme disease. This study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was severely flawed. In selecting patients, the study excluded people who clearly had Lyme disease, while including those who had some symptoms but no clear diagnosis.
The study also limited treatment period to 90 days, even though patients have reported improvement when receiving treatment over longer periods.
Finally, the study failed to achieve the NIH grant's objective to identify proper treatment of people suffering from chronic Lyme disease.
Chronic Lyme disease patients need a cure and not denial of treatment based on poorly executed studies. The energies of the health and industries are better directed at finding such a cure.
Robert A. Dyson
Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
Reprinted with thanks to the author.