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February 2009
Volume 19 Issue 2
Policy and Advocacy
Advocacy Update: IDSA Expresses Concern About State Lyme Disease Bills

IDSA recently sent letters to legislators in several states expressing the Society’s concern over bills that would promote long-term antibiotic therapy in treating Lyme disease, despite medical and scientific evidence indicating that such treatment may do more harm than good.  A Connecticut bill would prohibit state licensing boards from disciplining physicians who prescribe such treatment. Bills in New York, Vermont, and West Virginia would mandate insurance coverage of such treatments. Long-term antibiotic therapy is not medically indicated for Lyme disease, and it can lead to potentially fatal infections of the bloodstream, as a result of intravenous administration. It can also promote the development of drug resistance among other microorganisms.

Other advocacy efforts include:

IDSA opposed an Indiana bill (House bill 1567) that would ban the administration of influenza vaccines containing thimerosal in pregnant women and young children.  The Society addressed its concerns in a letter to the Indiana House of Representatives Committee of Public Health asserting that the bill is based on flawed pseudoscience linking thimerosal in vaccines to adverse effects on children. A Feb. 12 ruling by the Special Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims reaffirmed that thimerosal-containing vaccines were not causal factors in the development of autism or autism spectrum disorders.

IDSA sent comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in support of a gain-sharing exception that would allow infection control practitioners to share in the savings they help generate in hospitals, therefore incentivizing infection control strategies.
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