Seeking an Injunction against HHS and IOM to detemine ME/CFS criteria

How many would donate to a legal fund to file an injunction against HHS contract with the IOM

  • Yes

    Votes: 3 18.8%
  • Over $100

    Votes: 4 25.0%
  • Under $100

    Votes: 9 56.3%

  • Total voters
    16
  • Poll closed .

Ecoclimber

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The IOM contract would seriously impact the ME/CFS patient community in treatment and research resources

Yes, you should. This is the first time I created a poll and apparently I didn't check the box where you could do both. The most important is the number of people who woud donate. I have some consensus on this by a number of attorneys who have ME/CFS.
 

beaker

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Confused. You can't pick "yes" and a range of donation. Shouldn't you be able to do both ?
 

Ecoclimber

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It will do irreparable harm and injury to the ME/CFS patient community by denying them proper medical treatment by qualified medical physicians, by denying them health, medical and disability benefits and by eliminating funding for research into a biological/organic aetiology for this illness.
 

Valentijn

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Eco, do you have an idea of what grounds we might have for an injunction. I can't think of one off the top of my head.
True. From what little I recall from law school, government agencies can't get in trouble for doing their job, even if they do a piss poor job of it. I think the reasoning is that there is political recourse available instead.
 

alex3619

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True. From what little I recall from law school, government agencies can't get in trouble for doing their job, even if they do a piss poor job of it. I think the reasoning is that there is political recourse available instead.
They cannot be prosecuted, perhaps, unless criminal action can be proven, and this is very hard to do. Even then you can typically only prosecute the individuals responsible.

An injunction is only about a stay of activity. Its not a prosecution. It is however likely that to put an injunction on a government agency would be very hard to do, as I think judges would be reluctant to do so without very good evidence. While we might be able to assemble that evidence given time, we don't have time.

That does not mean we should not try to do this though. Its about sending a message.
 

Valentijn

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They cannot be prosecuted, perhaps, unless criminal action can be proven, and this is very hard to do. Even then you can typically only prosecute the individuals responsible.
Actually I was talking about civil actions, not criminal. And since civil actions have about 0 chance of success, there's no reason an injunction would be seriously considered.
 

alex3619

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Civil actions can indeed be taken against public servants, but the first requirement is that its not part of their regular job ... which probably means it has to also be criminal. At least that is my understanding. Being a public servant protects you in most countries from consequences of actions taken, but not if you take criminal actions. Civil action is then taken against the criminal activity, not regular public service activity.

In essence first you have to have a case to show irregular and possibly criminal activity on behalf of the public servant. That is when the window opens.
 

Hip

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In essence first you have to have a case to show irregular and possibly criminal activity on behalf of the public servant. That is when the window opens.
I wonder if evidence of corporate manipulation can be classed as irregular activity?

In the case of the Wessely School and CDC-driven efforts (which began in the 1980s) to re-categorize ME/CFS as a psychiatric rather than a physical disease, it is widely understood to have been multinational disability insurance companies such as UNUM Insurance who were involved in lobbying/advising government officials to change the classification to psychiatric.

Disability insurance companies stand to lose a lot of money with ME/CFS placed under a physical disease classification, because for any physical disease, disability insurers by law need to provide payouts for the entire lifetime of the disabled person. However, in the case of psychiatric conditions, I believe by law these insurance companies only need to make payments to the disabled person for a maximum of two years. So there is a big saving for disability insurance companies if ME/CFS is classified as a psychiatric rather than a physical disease.

Given that we have had these insurance companies like UNUM lobbying and "advising" governments in the past to get ME/CFS classified as a psychiatric, it is quite possible that these same companies are currently lobbying/advising the IOM and the DHHS, in order to drive through this change of definition of ME/CFS.

Some links:
UNUM Is Still Doing It To the Disabled

A good free eBook on how disability insurance companies like UNUM and Atos set about changing welfare laws and systems in order to minimize the payout they have to make to disabled patients is here:

Welfare Reform: The Dread of Things to Come

In this eBook it talks, for example, about the UnumProvident Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research at Cardiff University, UK, which was paid for by UNUM Insurance. The general idea of this research center is to try to exert influence to throw out the biomedical model of illness, and instead introduce a bio-psychosocial model for illness which considers diseases such as ME/CFS to be caused by cultural attitudes and psychological and social factors. In other words, to keep pushing the (erroneous) notion that ME/CFS is "all in the mind".

The UnumProvident Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research has links to the UK government's Department for Work and Pensions, who are responsible for setting welfare and social support policy for the UK.

This eBook also says that UNUM has been targeting (and I guess infiltrating and controlling) non-governmental organization (NGOs) in order to extend its powder and influence. The IOM is of course an NGO, so this makes you wonder if UNUM have some control over the IOM.
 
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alex3619

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We have no information about why this IOM contract was set up, who instigated it, and why they instigated it. This should be the first area of investigation.
Details of this might tell us a lot.

UNUM etc. do not have to be inside the IOM to influence the system. Companies like that have lobbyists and PR firms, and influence government wherever they can, whenever there is a reason.

One issue I really want to know though is which "experts" have been nominated to work with IOM, and who decides about them. That/those person/s (both doing the selecting and stepping up to be selected) need to be scrutinized. Both the IOM CMI group and NICE wrt CFS had biased composition given the nature of the subject material.

The terms of reference for NICE could not achieve a good outcome. About the only outcome that is fully justifiable with broad terms of reference is that many biomedical leads exist, and research has been seriously inadequate for a very long time. Yet the terms of reference for NICE could not permit such an outcome. The game is fixed before it even starts. A somewhat less justifiable outcome would be that no good treatments exist due to lack of adequate research, which leads back to the first point. Yet discussing research inadequacy and underfunding is not something they are directed to do. Their instruction prohibit useful inquiry, and whitewash the results before anything even happens.
 

Hip

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My money is on UNUM kicking this off.

If UNUM are capable of setting up and paying for an entire £1.6m department in Cardiff University, UK, in 2004, whose purpose is to promulgate the bio-psychosocial, "all in the mind" view of disabling illnesses to governments, they are capable of anything.
 
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alex3619

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To prove UNUM has criminal involvement will require, presuming its possible, some serious investigation and evidence. This is neither easy to do, nor quick to do.

However I too would like to read the official response on what instigated all this.
 

Iquitos

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I wonder if evidence of corporate manipulation can be classed as irregular activity?

I posted the following elsewhere, but it is relevant here also, if we are talking about irregularities:
Some links:​

We have no information about why this IOM contract was set up, who instigated it, and why they instigated it. This should be the first area of investigation.
That link should be to the original blog post: http://biomedicalmecfs.blogspot.com/2011/01/unum-is-still-doing-it-to-disabled.html

See also http://biomedicalmecfs.blogspot.com/2011/03/reeves-strikes-again-its-your-uterus.html

for how recently Suzanne Vernon and Beth Unger have collaborated with Bill Reeves to create smoke around the mecfs definition, and waste money on (non)pertinent research. These are the kind of "experts" that will probably be selected by IOM.

"We acknowledge Elizabeth Unger, M.D., and Daisy Lee of
the CDC and
Suzanne Vernon
, Ph.D., formerly of the CDC,
for their contributions to the study protocol."
 

Nielk

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Wow - Hope - some great detective work! If this isn't a conflict of interest, I don't know what is?

If all this checks out, it is huge. This should be enough to build a case, I think. Where are the lawyers?
 

alex3619

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Hip , to prove something necessary for an injunction may require specific evidence linking things to IOM or HHS with specific relevance in this case. That is what a judge will be looking for.

The financial tie between UNUM and IOM is important. Similar links with insurance and BPS etc. occur in the UK, where many activists are now comparing government policy toward disabled with Nazi Germany. While calls for such comparison are often empty, in this case there are real parallels.

I have long been aware of insurance company involvement in these issues, and its bigger than UNUM, much bigger. Some of my book is looking at this, and its a prime example of Zombie Science. There are also many other references on this issue, but I do not have a list handy. I might however be able to get a group sourced list fairly easily, as there are groups that are looking at this.

These are all good background documents, but they do not go to the central issue of an injunction, and possibly would be ruled inadmissible. What they do is give us ideas on where to look further. There might be issues here with two things though:

1. It might serve as documentation of prior activity that is similar to current activity, though references to previous legal judgements would be much better than any book from academia.
2. Its a great resource to combine with others to send to interested investigative journalists. Journalists who are interested in ME advocacy are rare, but many more might be interested in insurance industry wrongdoing, or government stuff-ups. There are also academics who are interested in these issues, including those who write about Zombie Science, though there may not be many.

There have been prior legal issues/cases involving UNUM I think, but I forget the details. The Judges summaries are often quoted. A link in an earlier post discusses one such case very briefly. This was from the post by Iquitos http://biomedicalmecfs.blogspot.com.au/2011/01/unum-is-still-doing-it-to-disabled.html