Subpoenas have been issued before the high court in Paris, targeting five companies that market the Lyme test, “Elisa” – the only test permitted initially in France to detect Lyme disease.
The Lyme test “Elisa” is the first of a two-tier testing system for Lyme disease, and is considered ineffective by many patients and physicians. Lyme disease has affected 33,000 people in France last year, according to estimates by the agency Public Health France, but the real numbers are at least 10 times that.
The “Elisa” is considered to be only 50% accurate, and yet the health of hundreds of thousands of lives hang in the balance. “There is a responsibility for these laboratories, which are not capable of guaranteeing the reliability of the tests they market,” Mr. Juliane Fouray, the spokesman for the civil action estimated. With “more than an even chance” of a misdiagnosis, “this is your life we’re playing a coin,” he added.
One hundred and thirty patients have joined this civil action against five laboratories that provide the diagnostic test. They accuse the labs of failing to inform the public just how unreliable the diagnostic tests are.
“These civil claims are intended to obtain compensation for damages, related to delayed diagnosis and aggravation,” said Fouray which requires 500,000 euros per patient the laboratories concerned.
It will be interesting to see if this suit causes similar civil actions in other parts of the world, and whether the action will actually provide some financial relief to the victims of this medical conundrum.