The American Medical Association Is Not What You Think It is

I think it is a fairly common belief among most people that the American Medical Association (AMA) is an organization that is meant to have the best interest of the healthcare concerns of the public at large in mind. The AMA bills themselves as “the “unified voice” of America’s doctors dedicated to “the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health.” However, when you look closely you will see that the AMA functions more like a trade organization, which is defined as: a voluntary association of business firms organized on a geographic or industrial basis to promote and develop commercial and industrial opportunities within its sphere of operation, to voice publicly the views of members on matters of common interest, or in some cases to exercise some measure of control over prices, output, and channels of distribution.

Developing commercial opportunities, controlling prices and channels of distribution can be so clearly seen in the relationship between Purdue Pharma and the AMA particularly between 2002 and 2018 when the AMA’s philanthropic arm, the AMA Foundation received more than $3 million from Purdue Pharma. In case you don’t remember, Purdue Pharma developed Oxycontin and spent millions of dollars telling the world that opioids aren’t addictive.

The fact of the matter is that the AMA has a history of behaving like a trade organization and not as the “unified voice” of America’s doctors. Because of its “cozy” relationship with Purdue Pharma, very few doctors even join the AMA anymore. In a very eye-opening article it was stated that, “As of 2019, just 19 percent of practicing physicians were AMA members; nearly half of them were students or residents, who get a discount on the $420 membership fee. Membership dues currently make up just 8 percent of the AMA’s total revenue.”

I’m going to be sharing more of the details from the Mother Jones article in upcoming blogs and articles. Or you can read the article in its entirety at the link above. If you’re really interested in how not concerned about public health the AMA has historically been check back next month.