NEWS: Is the IDSA trying to stop the broadcast of UNDER OUR SKIN? Apparently so.
According to the UNDER OUR SKIN blog, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) has been trying to stop the television broadcast of the award-winning Lyme documentary. Yet, so far, no PBS station has folded under the pressure.
From the UNDER OUR SKIN blog:
Open Eye Pictures has recently learned that the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) has been trying to stop the television broadcast of its award-winning documentary on Lyme disease, UNDER OUR SKIN. Working behind the scenes, IDSA officers and members have been contacting the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA), and local PBS stations, calling our film “dangerous for viewers” and full of “conspiracies.”
The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) was created in 1967 to “provide a voice for groups in the community that may otherwise be unheard,” and serve as “a forum for controversy and debate” by broadcasting programs that “help us see America whole, in all its diversity.”
We are heartened that no PBS affiliate station has folded under the pressure. UNDER OUR SKIN is the first televised documentary dedicated to educating the public about the plight of Lyme disease patients, who have been abandoned by the medical establishment, in part, because of the IDSA’s flawed Lyme guidelines development process.
While the primary focus of UNDER OUR SKIN is to inform viewers about Lyme disease through the eyes of patients, it also includes interviews with several authors of the IDSA Lyme disease treatment guidelines. These authors were briefed by the IDSA vice president of communications before the filming began, and we believe these interviews accurately represent the IDSA viewpoint on Lyme disease.
UNDER OUR SKIN also shows the unfolding of the investigation into the IDSA Lyme disease guidelines by former Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. His final investigative report found that there was:
• Significant conflicts of interest among the original IDSA guidelines authors,
• Suppression of scientific evidence by authors, and,
• Exclusion of panel members with opposing viewpoints.
The IDSA’s suppression of dissenting views continues. This time the target is UNDER OUR SKIN. (More examples of IDSA censorship are listed at the end of this article.)
Recently, the importance of transparency and open dialogue in medical guidelines development were underscored in a report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), “Clinical Practice Guidelines We Can Trust.” In this mandate for guidelines reform, the IDSA Lyme guidelines were called out as an example of a process gone awry:
“This case highlights the need for standardization and transparency in all aspects of systemic data collection and review, committee administration, and guideline development, so that questions about these issues do not detract from the science. [Guideline developers]… must be aware of the many, varied observers who will consider their development processes, particularly when their recommendations are likely to be controversial.”
And in a recent study in Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers found that out of 4,200 IDSA guideline recommendations, more than half were based on no more than expert opinion and anecdote, not hard evidence, reinforcing points made in our film. (See references below.)
So, as investigative news organizations and documentary film producers — with the help of the Physicians Sunshine Act — begin to shine the light on endemic commercial influences on “evidence-based medicine,” it’s a wake up call to the medical establishment to clean up their own act before attacking outside organizations dedicated to protecting the public.
In other words, don’t shoot the messenger.
To read more about past IDSA efforts to censor dissenting opinions:
Poses, R. (2006) “The Conflicted Defending the Conflicted: Infectious Disease Specialists’ Attack on the LA Times Goes Awry.”
Henderson CW, DeNoon, DJ. (1997) “Strange Bedfellows Damage CDC and NIH Credibility” AIDSWEEKLY Plus. Feb 3 1997.
Oransky, I. “Transparency needed in drug researchers’ finances.” Boston Globe. Oct. 7, 2006.
To read more about the flawed IDSA guidelines development process:
Johnson, L. and R. B. Stricker (2010). “The Infectious Diseases Society of America Lyme guidelines: a cautionary tale about the development of clinical practice guidelines.” Philos Ethics Humanit Med 5: 9.
IOM. (2011) “Clinical Practice Guidelines We Can Trust.” Washington D.C. National Academies Press.
Lee, D. H. and O. Vielemeyer (2011). “Analysis of Overall Level of Evidence Behind Infectious Diseases Society of America Practice Guidelines.” Arch Intern Med 171(1): 18-22.
Frederik Joelving, Medical “best practice” often no more than opinion”,
To download a detailed history of the IDSA investigation, click here.
To read the Attorney General’s press rebedlease on the IDSA guidelines investigation, click here.
- April 29, 2011 at 1:02 am
Oregon Public Broadcasting as much as folded for May showings – they are only scheduling UOS in the early am hours of 1am and 2am. I believe OPB has stated that they may show UOS in following months at different hours. I sincerely hope they do.
- April 29, 2011 at 4:35 pm
I'd like to post this information on my blog and facebook for my community. Can you give me links to the sources for IDSA's efforts to stop the airing of the film on PBS. Thank you.
- April 30, 2011 at 3:20 pm
We are here & we are not going away. I have lymes. To any PBS stations around the country that do not air Under Our Skin, shame on you for allowing your pocketbooks rule you. The first word in your nane is PUBLIC if that is not us with lymes who is.
- May 1, 2011 at 3:51 pm
I believe it! The corruption surrounding this disease is astounding!
I have suffered with it for many years; and am usually treated like a leper in the medical community. I hope that the PBS stations all across the country show the movie and at times when the majority of people are up to watch it!
- May 2, 2011 at 12:38 pm
I recently inquired to a Duluth, Minnesota PBS station regarding their 11:30 PM showing of Under Our Skin. I felt the late showing was a poor choice for a film trying to raise awareness of a public health risk as serious as Lyme's Disease.
This was the email reply I received from the stations general manager to my inquiry:
[Thank you for your message concerning the film Under our Skin. I can respond only with regard to WDSE·WRPT’s programming decisions; Lakeland Public Television is entirely independent of us. And I must tell you that since our advance schedule was published, WDSE·WRPT has dropped Under Our Skin from our schedule.
Our initial decision to air the film was driven by the same desire your message reflects – to inform viewers of the threat, to identify the variety of symptoms associated with Lyme disease, and to encourage early intervention. That decision was based on a written description of the film from a third party (not PBS) distributor.
Actually watching the film led to our reversal of that initial decision. The film Under Our Skin was released in 2009. In its current form, the film alleges that the position of the Infectious Diseases Society of America with regard to chronic Lyme disease is tainted by conflicts of interest, and cites an antitrust investigation of the IDSA by the Attorney General of the State of Connecticut.
Since the film’s release, the IDSA has entered into a settlement agreement with the Connecticut Attorney General and the Society’s positions have been reviewed and affirmed by an independent panel. That review was completed in April of 2010.
Unfortunately, documentary works are often rendered outdated due to new developments. We claim no medical expertise, but because the version of Under Our Skin which is currently offered does not acknowledge this pertinent development in the story it seeks to tell, WDSE·WRPT has chosen not to air the film.
We will continue to seek other, more timely ways in which we might help educate the community regarding the very real risks of Lyme disease.]
PBS had not even scheduled a showing for the Minneapolis/St Paul metro area…a surrounding area with a know high incidence of LD. How pathetic is that?
The IDSA should be sued for tortuous interference because of the harm they are causing to the public by trying conceal public health information–that is, if there is in fact evidence of interference.
- June 17, 2011 at 11:11 am
From back injury to ALS, to back surgery to Western Plot blood test, to three markers indicating chronic Lyme disease, to massive doses of antibiotics, to Chlelation therapy. Going on three years of severe pain. What do we do. I am my wife's care giver.
- June 17, 2011 at 11:24 am
Read: Lab 257, author- Michael Christopher Carroll. "The disturbing story of the government's secret germ la
- March 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm
Are you planning on broadcasting the film “Under our Skin” in the near future? I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with lime disease, and he doesn’t have a clue of it, other than what the good, complying doctor told him.
It will be useful to many.
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