The Kaiser Papers A Public Service Web Site

In Copyright Since September 11, 2000
This web site is in no manner affiliated with any Kaiser entity and the for profit Permanente
Permission is granted to mirror this web site -
Please acknowledge where the material was obtained.

Is the CDC a Threat to Public Health?

For many decades, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have been regarded as an infallible source of medical information for
health care providers. This no longer seems to be the case. Specialty providers who have expertise in a particular discipline or illness
are now questioning the accuracy of information presented by the CDC. However, the bulk of medical providers still view the CDC as
the ultimate authority for medical matters.

It appears that the integrity of the CDC has been compromised by inappropriate relationships with special interest groups such as
HMO’s, medical societies, pharmaceutical companies and others with a financial stake in health care. The influence of these groups
may have led to the issuance of selective and biased information detrimental to the public. Although this article deals mainly with
Lyme disease, there is enough to suspect that the CDC has been hijacked by outside interests in other areas as well.

In addition, certain CDC employees have financial interests assigned to them as a result of the Bayh-Doyle Act (1980) which
made this possible. The intent was to stimulate the development and application of government sourced inventions. An
unintended consequence could be that this has stifled further innovation due to a protectionist stance on existing patent
rights by government agencies and employees. When government researchers hold patents on commercial inventions,
there is the potential for them to deny federal research funding to outside researchers with competitive inventions.

An example of this was published by the Lyme Disease Foundation (LDF). It seems that some years ago, some credible medical
researchers from a major university approached the CDC to help them continue to develop a new test for Lyme disease that
promised to be far more accurate and less expensive than current tests. By various methods, including placing severe constraints
to develop their method, failure by the CDC to provide blood samples required to meet accreditation standards, and eventually, a
complete snub by the CDC, the inventors were unable to proceed with the development of their test. The details can be found in the
following article by the LDF…

It is notable that this test used a different technological approach than the ELISA “screening” test endorsed by the CDC, a poor
test with about 50% accuracy at best for Lyme disease. And it is also notable that Barbara J. B. Johnson, a CDC microbiologist,
has a patent interest in a Lyme ELISA test and was on the evaluation committee for the invention dismissed by the CDC. Is it
likely that Barbara J. B. Johnson, one of the CDC’s Lyme experts, would approve funding for a test that could threaten her future
income stream?

Former CDC employees have become disease dignitaries with medical societies such as the Infectious Disease Society of America
(IDSA). In the case of Lyme disease, CDC Internet information over the past few years has diminished and degraded to the point
where it is of limited value. In fact, the latest CDC Lyme disease information essentially just provides a link to the Lyme disease
guidelines formulated by IDSA which were the subject of an antitrust investigation by the Attorney General of Connecticut. Several
of the authors of these guidelines were former CDC employees. Coincidence? 
In Copyright since September 11, 2000