TOUCHED BY LYME: Update of our protest about Dr. Gary Wormser
As I write this on Monday morning, Dec. 4, more than 8500 (update: 10,000+) people have signed our petition to remove Dr. Gary Wormser from the newly formed federal Tick-Borne Diseases Working Group, which has its first meeting on Dec. 11.
As previously reported, LymeDisease.org has protested Dr. Wormser’s appointment, due to his serious financial conflicts of interest with companies that stand to gain from the panel’s decisions.
As LymeDisease.org President Phyllis Mervine wrote to Dr. Richard Wolitsky, the federal officer in charge of the Working Group:
Dr. Wormser has substantial conflicts of interests with lab companies and other commercial interests. In a recent article he disclosed conflicts of interest with Immunetics, Inc. (the developer of the C6 Lyme test, which he promotes). The C6 Lyme test is known to be highly insensitive, yet the IDSA guidelines require positive lab tests in order for patients to be diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease. This means that patients must obtain repeated blood tests to obtain positive results, which helps drive up the profits of testing companies such as Immunetics.
Dr. Wormser also discloses Lyme-related conflicts of interests with Abbott, Institute for Systems Biology, Rarecyte, Inc, and Quidel Corporation. He also has financial ties to insurance companies, having served as an expert witness in court cases against doctors for treating Lyme disease outside of the IDSA guidelines
We sent that comment to Dr. Wolitski last week, and this morning received a boilerplate acknowledgement of our message. It emphasized that the Working Group is supposed to represent a diversity of opinions, not just ones we agree with. Here’s my reply to that:
Dr. Wolitski: Thank you for acknowledging receipt of LymeDisease.org’s letter to you. I realize that such large numbers preclude an individualized response.
However, I feel compelled to point out once again that we are NOT protesting Dr. Wormser’s participation based on his opinions. Rather, we object to his flagrant financial conflicts of interest, with companies that stand to benefit greatly from decisions made by this Working Group.
Yes, the point of this panel is to bring together diverse opinions regarding Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. But there’s a big difference between representing a scientific viewpoint and representing the commercial interests of profit-making lab companies.
Dorothy Leland, Vice-President, LymeDisease.org
Read more about why we protest.
Click here to sign our petition.
TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland, LymeDisease.org’s VP for Education and Outreach. She is co-author of When Your Child Has Lyme Disease: A Parent’s Survival Guide. Contact her at email@example.com
- December 4, 2017 at 11:32 am
I sent an email to Dr Wolitski in addition to signing the petition. I received a “form” email response from ?him; I don’t think so. He didn’t even get my name right.
I sent another email to him suggesting that he research/read all he can find from persons with TBD’s. I’m sure he’ll get right on it.
- December 4, 2017 at 1:31 pm
Very good letter… Not sure why Conflicts of Interest issues seem to have been so ignored of late by government agencies other than they are so compromised themselves having a glaring CoI means nothing anymore.
One of the reasons so little progress has been made on the Lyme front is that the insurance-governmental complex has unduly influenced entities like the CDC to obfuscate the truth about this pandemic as they stand to lose vast sums of money if the truther were known. No longer would they be able to deny disability, no longer would 3rd party payers be able to refuse reimbursement for treatment, etc.
I wish there was a fat cat Big Pharma company that had something special to sell for chronic Lyme because they would break the log jam, but they don’t so, we are left with those entities that want to protect their financial interests that would be severely impacted by the societal acknowledgement of the depth of the Lyme problem.
- December 4, 2017 at 3:00 pm
How can you bring together differing viewpoints in a “respectful” atmosphere, when you are including a person paid for professionally persecuting those he disagrees with.
- December 4, 2017 at 6:05 pm
Thank u for the updates. !!
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