This month, as I continue to reveal the darker side of the AMA, I’m going to travel back in history to show how intimately involved they were with the tobacco industry. So keep in mind the recently revealed cozy relationship with the pharmaceutical industry (see last month’s blog The American Medical Association Is Not What You Think It is) as we choke on the facts from the past, regarding the so called “unified voice” of America’s doctors who claim to be “dedicated to the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health. Smoking is the #1 addiction in the world and as I research the AMA, FDA, Government and corporate pay-to-play relationships it goes back much longer than the opioid crisis. Pharmaceutical companies are just the next cash cow to join the influence parade.
Where There’s Smoke There’s Deception
A half century ago, way back in 1964, the surgeon general issued a landmark report concluding that smoking causes cancer. The Federal Trade Commission immediately called for warning labels to be put on cigarette packages. But there was strong opposition from – you guessed it, the holiest of holies, the American Medical Association! The AMA opposed the label despite the thousands of tests, doctors and individual medical societies in favor of it.
The AMA’s position on smoking was, “There is no further need for educational statements to the youth.” Which was the exact stance of the tobacco industry. The AMA boasted about the fact that their journal, JAMA, stopped running cigarette ads in the 1950’s even though their collaboration with the tobacco industry continued for decades. In fact, the AMA launched a massive research partnership with six tobacco companies in an attempt to disprove the surgeon general’s warning. These six companies gave $18 million dollars to the AMA (1964 mind you!) over the next decade for this research. Fortunately for the public, less fortunate for the tobacco industry, the research concluded that the surgeon general’s report was correct.
Impossible To Maintain Their Supportive Stance The AMA Turned On Tobacco
The AMA continued its support of the tobacco industry until it was absolutely impossible for them to do so when lawsuits started flying in the mid-1990’s. Sounds just like what recently happened with Purdue Pharma. Both the AMA and the tobacco industry knew that tobacco was addictive 30 years prior to the surgeon general’s warning. And when the AMA turned on tobacco, they took absolutely no responsibility for their support, and instead put all the blame on the industry.
To say that the AMA’s finger-pointing seemed hollow is an understatement, but as I have been pointing out, the majority of Americans continue to hold this organization in high esteem despite the fact that they act as a trade organization for the industry that gives them the most money at any given time, rather than benefit the betterment of public health.
Next month join me as I elaborate on how the AMA conspired to destroy the entire chiropractic profession. Fortunately – spoiler alert – they failed.