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Lyme Disease: Beware of Legislative Alchemy ISABELLE HACHEY


Three days a week the family doctor to leave their homes in Westmount and makes an hour and a half hour drive to visit his patients in his private clinic in New York, New York.

His patients are for the most part Quebeckers who are convinced to suffer from the chronic form of Lyme disease … but who have never been confirmed by a Quebec doctor.

The first consultation alone costs $ 900. The following visits: US $ 460. Phone Conferences: $ 288 for 30 minutes … and $ 10 per minute.

Patients usually come from a D-clinicre McShane, who has a diagnosis and prescription antibiotics swallow for months or even years.

Maureen McShane did not respond to the interview. In his clinic's "policies and procedures" he claims that "if the test is [sérologique] is negative, it does not mean that you do not have Lyme borreliosis.

Instead, he trusts the symptoms. And almost all the symptoms are good. Fever, anxiety, headache, cough, depression, libido loss … is 53 (!) In shape he asks patients to fill.

Real transport. The sick do not even have to remember that he has been disbanded.

Secretary of the Quebec College of Doctors Yves Robert asks himself, "Do you have Lyme disease from the start when you return to the office?"

He tries to answer, "It looks a lot."

D patientsre McShane has to buy antibiotic cocktails at the pharmacy. The rest do not have to move: they can buy the transport of probiotics and other additives necessary for their treatment at the clinic.

It is very practical.

Ethical? Not bad.

In the hope of healing, these patients can spend tens of thousands of dollars on these unproven and potentially dangerous treatments.

Dre McShane is unlikely to be worried about the college of doctors: although he lives in Westmount, this American woman's practice is in the United States.

Nor are the New York State medical authorities jeopardizing her. There, the Patient Lobby succeeded in introducing a law to protect Lyme-literate doctors from disciplinary sanctions.

"He's protected. Pro-Lyme groups have been powerful enough to convince New York State's legislative power," says Jean-Marc Girard, neurologist at the University Hospital of Montreal.

In eight other states, patients sentenced to suffer from the chronic form of Lyme disease have lobbied selected officials to protect their doctors from "persecution" by medical authorities.

Also forcing insurance companies to pay for these antibiotic treatments more effectively, according to studies, than placebo.

But what science says, politicians are insured. The law has been approved.

Just as politicians try to replace scientists and doctors by setting up parallel scientific reality.

As if they normalize pseudo science.

This political interference with medical treatment has become more common in the United States. He was even given the name: legislative alchemy.


Patients in Amir Khadir responded angrily to the Tuesday column because I questioned the treatments suggested by the famous microbiologist infectologist.

They swear that they have improved due to the extended antibiotic treatment prescribed by DR Khadir.

"Our whole family is better. Much better. Our children are literally other children," wrote Julie Francis, who believes she is a chronic form of Lyme disease, as well as her husband and two young sons.

"I remind you that when we descend to DR Khadir, we are very alive, and this is the last resort he continues. Doors are too often closed in solutions. "

I have no doubt that Amir Khadir is a benign doctor described by his patients. I have nothing personal about him, on the contrary, I often appreciated his position as rebels in the Blue Salon of the Quebec Parliament.

I am just afraid that it will endanger the health of patients unnecessarily.

DR Khadir is the only doctor in Quebec to define long-term antibiotics without a research protocol for people who say they are Lyme's disease.

And he does so against the advice of his colleagues.

The Canadian Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases has recently issued a warning about such treatments, the efficacy of which has never been demonstrated and has "harmful effects". patients.

Doctors' College DR Robert has another question, this time addressed to DR Khadir: "What do you do if patients start developing complications with antibiotics [qui ont] serious consequences? "


Many doctors also wrote to me. Microbiologists, pediatricians, infectologists, family doctors.

They can no longer fight pseudo-information for patients who are cautious about their clinical judgment and who themselves are diagnosing the web.

Most of them refuse to mention in the media because they are afraid of the Lyme lobby response.

Alex Carignan, a microbiologist-infectious scientist and researcher at Université de Sherbrooke, dared to give interviews that were all meant to protect patients. He was injured, threatened and disturbed in the park. "I have even become afraid of my family," he writes.

The same phenomenon is observed elsewhere. In May, the Public Health Agency in France was concerned about the virulence of some activists who put the authorities at risk of recommending "ineffective and dangerous" treatment because they are not researchers.

All of this is similar to the tactic used by anti-vaccine activists. Or for those who pushed Pharmachienia, Olivier Bernard, because he was unable to criticize the importance of injectable vitamin C in the treatment of cancer.

"There is a great loss of confidence in medicine, worry about neurologist Jean-Marc Girard. We have a big hill to climb this confidence. We are not big evils, we doctors.


In 2020, the National Center of Excellence for Health and Social Services (INESSS) will publish a recommendation on the chronic form of Lyme disease.

But dozens of learned societies in the world have already said: giving antibiotics for over 28 days to treat Lyme disease is neither recommended nor justified.

This is the opinion of the French High Authority for Health.

United Kingdom Health and Health Center of Excellence.

American Communicable Disease Society in the United States.

In short, the scientific consensus is clear.

And to turn in the Lyme lobby, he turns to politicians.

That's what happened in the United States … and Quebec.

Last year, representatives of the Lyme Disease Association in Quebec met Amir Khadir before giving up as an alternate.

Amir Khadir proposed his petition to the National Assembly. He asked PQ member Sylvain Paget to sponsor this petition for his place, to avoid any conflict of interest, he told me in an interview.

These steps culminated in the organization of a parliamentary committee in the spring of 2018. Police Amir Khadir urged the college of doctors to "annoy" doctors who dared to prescribe broader antibiotic treatment.

The Commission drew up a report. Sylvain Pagé suggested that this recommendation should be included in the Ministry of Health to investigate the possibility of "giving these treatments to people with chronic Lyme disease."

MP Pagé finally withdrew his proposal.

This time, the Legislative Legacy did not work.

It did not stop the doctor from moving Amir Khadir.

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