Chiropractors and naturopaths – are they dangerous?
By Dr. Mercola
The medical profession has a long history of opposing alternative healing professions.
While always claiming public safety as its reason for the attacks, the true reasons often involve protecting their monopoly of the healthcare market.
Medicine’s opposition to chiropractic was its strongest under the leadership of Morris Fishbein, Secretary of the American Medical Association from 1924 to 1949, who led a 50-year anti-chiropractic campaign in both professional publications and the public media.
Historical Antitrust Lawsuits Against Medical Societies
In 1975 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Goldfarb vs. the Virginia State Bar, that learned professions are not exempt from antitrust suits.
In 1982 the Court ruled that the FTC could enforce antitrust laws against medical societies.
These two suits paved the way for five chiropractors to file an anti-trust suit against the American Medical Association (AMA) and several other heath care agencies and societies in Federal District Court (known as the Wilkes Case).
Judge Susan Getzendanner found the AMA and others guilty of an illegal conspiracy against the chiropractic profession in September of 1987, ordering a permanent injunction against the AMA and forcing them to print the court’s findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Even with success of the Wilkes Case and other anti-trust litigation, the AMA continues to this day to wage a campaign against chiropractic.
The American Medical Association (AMA) has maintained a decades-long battle against “alternative” healing traditions, dating back to the 1920s and arguably even earlier. The courts eventually ruled in favor of the chiropractors in 1987, finding the AMA guilty of a conspiracy to take down the chiropractic profession, as the above article recounts in detail.
But was this the end of it? Has the AMA resigned itself to the fact that chiropractic, as well as other forms of natural medicine, are here to stay? Not a chance.
The AMA’s Bedfellows
Even with the success of the Wilkes Case, the AMA has continued to wage war against natural medicine for the past 20 years—but in more covert ways. It’s the “Cold War” phase of this battle, but every bit as fierce. And now the AMA has rallied up a few significant allies, including:
- The American Dental Association (ADA)
- The American Cancer Society (ACS)
- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and
- The American Psychiatric Association (APA)
… not to mention governmental regulatory agencies; all willing to march toward a common goal—a monopoly on medical care in this country. Together, they form a formidable lobbying force that controls just about every regulatory and legislative body in America. The truth is that chiropractic, naturopathic, and osteopathic medicine have PROVEN to be medically effective and cost effective for the patient, and the AMA can’t stomach this, viewing natural medicine as a huge threat to their bottom line.
Federal Courts Rule AMA “Guilty as Charged”
In 1987, the federal courts found the AMA and several other medical groups guilty of seeking to create a healthcare monopoly. Specifically, they were found guilty of the following actions (published in the January 1988 issue of JAMA):
- Systematic defamation of naturopathic, chiropractic, and osteopathic physicians
- Publishing and distribution of propaganda specifically intended to ruin other healthcare professionals’ reputations
- Forcing MDs to refuse collaboration with naturopathic, chiropractic, and osteopathic physicians in the co-management of patients
- Denying hospital access to naturopathic, chiropractic, and osteopathic physicians
The attack on osteopathic medicine has largely faded away since then, but chiropractic and naturopathic practitioners, as well as other legitimate natural medicine practitioners, continue to be the targets of suppression and misrepresentation. The war isn’t over, but the rules of engagement have changed.
AMA Declares New War on Natural Medicine in 2006
In 2006, the AMA declared war on natural medicine by publicly stating on its website its intention to forcibly oppose licensure and practice of naturopathic physicians. Although they quickly removed this from their site, the following is a direct quote from that post, according to Naturopathy Digest:
“RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association work through its Board of Trustees to outline a policy opposing the licensure of naturopaths to practice medicine and report this policy to the House of Delegates no later than the 2006 Interim Meeting. (Directive to Take Action) Fiscal Note: Implement accordingly at estimated staff cost of $10,836.”
Translation: Eliminate the competition.
According to The Integrator Blog, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) joined the battle with a statement that their goal was to “thwart the growing threat of expansion of scope of practice for allied health professionals” and included psychologists on the list of medical practitioners who needed to be “thwarted” (in addition to naturopaths, chiropractors, and midwives). The APA pledged their allegiance to the AMA in assisting them with “coordinating research to help medical specialty societies and state medical associations fight expansions in non-medical scope of practice, and improve information sharing among those groups.”
Other medical associations have made similar pledges, such as the Minnesota Medical Association and the New York Academy of Family Physicians. They maintain that their position is based on concern for quality of care and patient safety, but the REAL agenda is just an attempt to destroy the competition.
As Chiropractor Louis Sportelli writes in his 2010 article in Dynamic Chiropractic:
“Just look around and you will see clear and compelling evidence that the long-standing war between the AMA and everyone else who does not come under the AMA umbrella is far from over. The names have changed, the venue has changed, but the intent has remained the same: to maintain monopolistic control over the delivery of health care.”
Old Mission, New Tactics: AMA Learns How to Discriminate with Impunity
In 2010, the AMA House of Delegates introduced a resolution regarding scope of practice that contains limitations on who can be considered a legitimate physician, and who can medically diagnose. Specifically, the AMA’s “Definition of a Physician” (H-405.969) contains the following language:
“The AMA affirms that a physician is an individual who has received a ‘Doctor of Medicine’ or a ‘Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine’ degree.”
This is proof, without a doubt, that the AMA as well as individual state medical associations intend to continue doing everything they can to prevent you from accessing natural healthcare. Texas and Connecticut medical associations were the first to join the cause, and others will likely follow. Similarly, the AMA’s “Comprehensive Physical Examination by Appropriate Practitioners” reads as follows:
“…the performance of comprehensive physical examinations to diagnose medical conditions [should be limited] to licensed MDs/DOs or those practitioners who are directly supervised by licensed MDs/DOs.”
State Medical Associations Jumping on Board
In 2010, the Texas Medical Board of Examiners filed an action against the Texas Chiropractic Board of Examiners challenging the authority of DCs (Doctors of Chiropractic) to perform some of their medical procedures, and challenging their authority to diagnose. How can medical associations get away with such shenanigans now, when they were given such a clear message to back off in the injunction of 1987? After all, these are very similar tactics to what they were found guilty of back in 1987.
Well, according to Sportinelli, the AMA has learned some lessons about how to beat the law—loopholes that allow them to go on the attack while sidestepping “restraint of trade” or “illegal boycott” violations:
“It [AMA] now understands that government action is protected under the Constitution, as is action in petitioning the government. It can lawfully petition local, state and federal legislators and attempt to influence any legislation without fear of committing actionable restraint of trade or illegal boycott. (However, the AMA does seem to be getting dangerously close with its resolution regarding the “definition of a physician,” in that it appears to involve hospital action without the intervention of government.)”
And what does one need in order to effectively influence the government? Money. This is something the AMA has—and piles of it. Sportinelli goes on to say that the medical industry is likely gearing up for a 50-state effort to put non-MD/DO physicians out of business. And this means fewer choices about your own medical care.
Profit Motives Cleverly Disguised as Concern for Your Health and Safety
According to Naturopathy Digest, the AMA and other medical groups justify their opposition to natural medicine on the basis of three areas of concern:
- Quality of patient care
- Patient safety
- Quality of education of medical practitioners
As the article so eloquently points out, none of these arguments holds up, and most are based on medical and pharmaceutical industry propaganda. If they were TRULY concerned about patient care and safety, they would not be targeting natural medicine, which has an incredibly low incidence of adverse consequences, but instead going after their own allopathic medical practices that are leaving a trail of death and destruction.
Drug “side effects”, prescription errors, unnecessary surgeries, nosocomial infections, and hospital “errors” are a leading cause of death in the United States. In fact, one estimate is that allopathic medicine kills 493 American patients daily. The number of people who die each week as a result of medical treatments surpasses the number of deaths caused by the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Yes, each and every week!
Many of the drugs advertised in JAMA (the AMA’s scientific journal) are the very same drugs that are killing tens of thousands of Americans each year. This massive funding of the AMA by drug companies is a blatant conflict of interest. If the AMA really cared about your safety, they’d be putting their substantial assets into overhauling the American healthcare system. The AMA is fond of lambasting the education and training of chiropractors, when in actuality, they should be more concerned about the educational qualifications of their own physicians. In their own publications, they have stated:
“Medical education is failing to prepare students adequately for their future practice… medical education is currently being held together with peanut butter and bubble gum.”
At least four consecutive studies have documented that most MDs are incompetent when it comes to diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems, something at which chiropractors excel. Another example of an abysmal lack of education of Western physicians is in the area of diet and nutrition. The AMA itself has published research showing that dietary interventions should be used before drugs in the treatment of heart disease. Yet, medical students receive virtually NO training in nutrition. Naturopathic and chiropractic physicians, on the other hand, are usually well versed in the importance of nutrition and exercise.
It’s Not Just the AMA
Perhaps it’s time to take a real look at medical associations, and the concern that they may be doing more harm than good. For groups who claim to exist in order to protect your health, they inevitably end up sabotaging it. It isn’t just the AMA. Other medical associations that claim to exist for the betterment of public health include the following:
American Dental Association (ADA): Continues to support the use of mercury fillings and demonizes biological dentists who oppose the use of mercury in dentistry; continues to support fluoridation, in spite of the evidence it does more harm than good.
American Cancer Society (ACS): This charity has close ties to the mammography industry, the cancer drug industry, and the pesticide industry; has rampant conflicts of interest; consistently promotes drugs and screening procedures while ignoring environmental causes of cancer.
National Cancer Institute (NCI): Has spent billions of taxpayer dollars promoting treatments while ignoring strategies for preventing cancer; abundant ties to the cancer drug industry (for more information, read Samuel Epstein’s new book, National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society: Criminal Indifference to Cancer Prevention and Conflicts of Interest)
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): Claiming to be protecting your children, the AAP is largely funded by vaccine manufacturers but refuses to disclose just how much money it gets from them; partners with Congress to protect pediatricians and drug companies from liability for vaccine injuries, while preventing you from getting truthful vaccine information.
Actions Speak Louder than Words
When someone’s words differ from their actions, chances are that their actions more accurately reflect their values—and this is true for organizations, as well as individuals. Although medical associations claim to have your best interests at heart, their actions tell a different story. It’s time to begin holding them accountable for their behavior and stop letting them hide behind the same old tired rhetoric.
You have a right to make your own choices about your healthcare, be it allopathic or naturopathic—whether you see an MD, an ND, or a DC should be YOUR decision and yours alone.
JAMA January 1988
Naturopathy Digest August 2006
The Integrator Blog May 2006
Dynamic Chiropractic July 2010
Clin Orthop Relat Res. August 2005