Defendants settle in Torrey vs. IDSA US Lyme lawsuit

As of 16th November 2020, all eight insurers have now settled in the US lawsuit on Lyme disease, Torrey vs. IDSA et al. The lawsuit was brought by 24 Lyme disease patients in the US against the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), 8 insurance companies, and 6 physicians involved in writing and enforcing the IDSA guidelines.

The suit focuses on the denial of longer courses of antibiotics to patients under the IDSA guidelines, which rigidly hold that 10-to-28-day courses almost always eliminate Lyme infection.

The patients assert that insurance companies paid key doctors associated with IDSA to develop and enforce care guidelines that sharply limited treatment and drove doctors who treated outside the guidelines out of business.

The defendants are:

  • the Infectious Diseases Society of America
  • six physicians (called IDSA panelists): Gary P. Wormser, Raymond J. Dattwyler, John J. Halperin, Eugene Shapiro, Leonard Sigal, and Allen Steere (seventh, Robert Nadelman, died in 2018).
  • the insurers Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Anthem, Inc., Blue Cross And Blue Shield Of Texas, Aetna Inc., Cigna Corporation, Kaiser Permanente, Inc., United Healthcare Services, Inc., and United Healthcare Group, Inc.

Of the physicians, Wormser and Dattwyler are first and second authors on the guidelines – last revised in 2006 – and Steere did early investigative work when Lyme disease emerged in Lyme, Connecticut, in the 1970s.

The lawsuit contends that:

  • "There is sufficient evidence to establish that the IDSA panelists were paid by, and influenced by, insurance companies.”
  • "A large number of patients, at least 20 percent, do not respond to short-term antibiotic treatment.”
  • “chronic Lyme disease patients who do not respond to short-term antibiotic treatment, and do not receive long-term antibiotic treatment, will suffer debilitating symptoms, will be in constant pain, will be unable to function or live a normal life, and will eventually die from Lyme disease.”

We hope this will now allow the mounting emerging science to come to the fore, which undoubtedly shows that standard antibiotics, in particular doxycycline, fail to kill the Lyme spirochete in animal and test-tube experiments. Published research also acknowledges that 10 to 20 percent of early treated patients remain ill under current short-course protocols such as recommended by NICE.

Although the insurers have settled, the suit against the other defendants will continue.  You can read more information about the lawsuit.