Dynamic Chiropractic – August 18, 1990, Vol. 08, Issue 17

AMA Compared to Laetrile

By Editorial Staff

On July 13, 1990, the American Medical Association petitioned the Supreme Court of the United States for a one month extension of time to allow it to prepare and file a petition to have the Supreme Court review the chiropractors' victory in the Wilk et al. v. AMA et al. case.

In making the request the AMA informed the Supreme Court that there is no difference between the "anti-chiropractic guidelines" which were declared illegal by the courts and an ethical guideline of the AMA "condemning the use of such unscientific and dangerous practices as the use of laetrile to treat cancer."

The AMA's application for extension of time states:

The AMA's petition will invoke this Court's jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1254(1). Although the petition may also raise other questions, one question that the AMA's petition will raise is whether it was permissible for the Seventh Circuit to, in its words, "modify the rule of reason" so that (1) plaintiffs may make out a prima facie case under Section One of the Sherman Act by showing only that a professional ethical guideline reduced their revenues or increased their costs, and (2) the burden is then shifted to the defendant to show that these "anticompetitive" consequences are outweighed by "procompetitive" justifications and that the guidelines constitute the "least restrictive alternative," whether or not it is reasonable. Wilk v. American Medical Association, 791F.2d 207, 225 (7th Cir. 1983); See Appendix A, pp. 12-20.

Under this holding, it could be held to be a violation of the antitrust laws for the AMA to have ethical guidelines condemning the use of such unscientific and dangerous practices as the use of laetrile to treat cancer. Indeed, there is no difference between such a provision and the "antichiropractic" guideline here held to violate the antitrust laws.

Nowhere in the application does the AMA mention (1) that chiropractic has been licensed by the legislatures of all 50 states; (2) that independent studies have indicated that chiropractic care is substantially superior to medical physician care in many problems involving the neuromusculoskeletal system; (3) that the court found that the primary objective of the AMA was to destroy the profession of chiropractic; and (4) that the court found that it was objectively unreasonable, under all of the circumstances, for the AMA to have believed that destruction of the profession of chiropractic was necessary to obtain any valid public health goals.

The date for filing the petition by the AMA, if the extension is granted by the Supreme Court, will be August 25, 1990.


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