Disease Mongering at the CDC?

  • by: |
  • 11/06/2006

According to today's edition of the Wall Street Journal, The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is aiming to boost awareness of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Chronic fatigue syndrome "is a terrible illness that prevents many people from taking part in everyday activities and participating in the things they enjoy," CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said at a news conference Friday. Early diagnosis and treatment of the disease are important for recovery -- even though it isn't clear what the best treatments are, CDC officials said.

Currently, there is no cure for the syndrome, which is estimated to affect around one million Americans.

Symptoms of the illness, including fatigue, short-term memory impairment, joint and muscle pain, are treated with medications that target the pain or fatigue. Antidepressants are also used.

Although the syndrome was officially recognized by the government in the late 1980s as a medical condition, many people still question whether the condition is a true physical illness.

The lack of knowledge on the causes and treatment of the disease has caused drug companies to stay away from research in the area. Information on the disease can be found at the CDC's Web site, www.cdc.gov/cfs/.

Philadelphia-based Hemispherx Biopharma Inc. plans to seek Food and Drug Administration approval to market Ampligen as a chronic fatigue treatment by the end of the year. If approved, it would be the first drug directly targeted to treat the syndrome.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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