Bill to Expand Treatment For Lyme Disease Sufferers Gets Green Light From Committee

Measure advances after 7-4 vote of Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee

Augusta – Both Republican and Democratic members of the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development advanced a measure sponsored by Rep. Deb Sanderson, (R) from Chelsea that expands treatment for Lyme disease sufferers.

The vote came this afternoon after an amendment mirroring a law currently on the books in Massachusetts was introduced. LD 422 would prohibit the Board of Licensure in Medicine from disciplining a physician or revoking or suspending a physician’s license solely for prescribing, administering or dispensing long-term antibiotic therapy to a patient with acute, persistent or chronic Lyme disease.

Though some physicians in Maine are currently treating Lyme sufferers, they do so in the shadows. Although this treatment isn’t illegal, it is only embraced by a minority of physicians. There are others who would be willing to treat but don’t dare for fear of disciplinary action from the board.

Hundreds of people turned out for the public hearing and voiced their support for the measure.

The bill will next head to the House for a vote.

“I want thank the LCRED Committee members for their hard work on this very important issue,” Rep. Sanderson said. “I especially want to thank Rep. Ryan Fecteau for all of his hard work in putting forward an amendment that a majority of the committee members would support. It’s a great example of what we can accomplish when Republicans and Democrats work together. I urge all members of the House and Senate to support the majority report on this bill.”

To view the amendment, click on the link below:

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