A modern investigation into the AMA’s long history of unethical and illegal activities by Dana Ulman

by faithgibson on July 7, 2021

“Why the AMA is so rich” by Dana Ulman, Berkeley, Ca 2008

This is fully story that provides information conspicuously missing from the Hoover Profile “sanitized” version of the AMA posted on Answer.com  

Editor’s note:

The AMA was first incorporated in the state of New York in 1847. It did not become politically and economically influential until 1899 when George Simmons was hired as the organization’s secretary and first full-time employee.

According to newspaper reports of the era, George Simmons was newspaper reporter from England. After immigrating to the US, he taught himself homeopathy and advertised his services as Doctor Simmons.

I took the liberty of rearranging the order of the first few paragraphs to so the historical context would come before the AMA’s various misadventures were introduced — a litany of increasing political influence, and repeated exercise of poor judgement and a variety of product endorsement scandals, one of the most egregious being advertisement in JAMA that promoted smoking Philip Morris and Chesterfield cigarettes. There are many other examples, but the AMA’s promotion of cigarette smoking, 30 years of selling it’s “Seal of Approval” of various products are among its most infamous.

Supporting documentation

The best and certainly the most “exhaustive” is a book written by a New York opthamologist who was blackballed by the AMA in the late 1930. The origin version was called “Merchants of Medicine” and dealt almost exclusively with the history, practices and privileges carved out by organized medicine in the US. A second and longer version was titled “Your Life is their Toy“. A third publication combine the content of these two books into one book that is 449-pages long. The second half includes the material originally published in “Merchants of Medicine

I pasted the URL below. But to give you a small sampling, here is a paragraph under the heading of “The Origins of the AMA“:

The entire early history of medicine in this country was a commercial 
war upon competitors by these medical bosses, who termed themselves 
“regular" practitioners. 

Looking backward we now realize that many of 
these medical merchants were no less quacks than were some of the groups 
that they presumed to attack and persecute, and sought to drive out. 

Much of their “accepted practice" we now know was rank murder. Among these 
murderous practices were copious bleeding and medication with large doses 
of tartar emetic. The short expectancy of life in those days was due in no 
small measure to the medical practices of the “regulars.” George Wash- 
ington, for instance, because he had quinsy, was bled to death by a “regular” 


FG ^O^

When George H. Simmons began in 1899 his 25-year reign as figure-head of the AMA, it was a weak organization with little money and little respect from the general public.

The advertising revenue from the medical journal (JAMA) was a paltry $34,000 per year. Simmons came up with the idea to transform the AMA into a big business by granting the AMA’s “seal of approval” to certain drug companies that placed large and frequent ads in JAMA and its various affiliate publications.

Under the direction of Dr. George H. Simmons the AMA was widely known as a model of efficient administration.

The AMA was dictatorially led for the first half of the twentieth century by George H. Simmons, MD (1852-1937) and his protégé, Morris Fishbein, MD (1889-1976). Simmons and Fishbein both served as general manager of the organization and as editor of its journal, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). While these two leaders provided substantial benefit to the organization and to medical doctors, their methods of doing so have been severely criticized, with some historians referring to them as “medical Mussolinis.”

With 88,000 members—the majority of American physicians —with a number of first-class medical publications, with an extensive plant and equipment, large staff and a powerful central executive committee, it represents the best contemporary thought of orthodox medicine. These very qualities have incurred for it the opposition of medical independents of various cults, who claim that, as a political machine, Tammany Hall can’t hold a candle to the A. M. A.

By 1903, advertising revenue increased substantially, to $89,000, and by 1909, JAMA was making $150,000 per year. In 1900, the AMA had only 8,000 members, but by 1910, it had more than 70,000. This substantial increase in advertising revenue and membership was not the result of new effective medical treatments, for there were virtually no medical treatments from this era that were effective enough to be used by doctors today or even just a couple of decades later.

Some critics of the AMA have called their seal-of-approval program a form of extortion because the AMA did no testing of any products. When George Abbott, owner of a large drug company, Abbott Biologicals (known today as Abbott Laboratories), did not provide “blackmail” money to the AMA and when none of his products were granted AMA approval, Abbott went on the offensive. He arranged for an investigation of the AMA president that revealed that Simmons had no credible medical credentials, that he worked primarily as an abortion doctor for many years, and that he had had sex charges brought by some of his patients as well as charges of negligence in the deaths of others. After this meeting, the drugs made by Abbott Laboratories were regularly approved, and the company was not required to place any ads.

Simmons was shrewd enough to have the AMA establish a Council on Medical Education in 1904. This council’s mission was to upgrade medical education — a worthy goal. The formation of the council seemed a good idea to homeopaths because surveys in JAMA itself had consistently shown that the graduates of the conventional medical schools failed the medical board examinations at almost twice the rate of graduates of homeopathic colleges. However, the AMA developed guidelines to give lower ratings to homeopathic colleges. For instance, just having the word “homeopathic” in the name of a school had an effect on the rating because the AMA asserted that such schools taught “an exclusive dogma.”

In 1910, the same year that the Flexner report was published, the AMA published “Essentials of an Acceptable Medical College”, which echoed similar criteria for medical education and a disdain for non-conventional medical study. In fact, the AMA’s head of the Council on Medical Education traveled with Abraham Flexner as they evaluated medical schools.

The medical sociologist Paul Starr wrote in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book: “The AMA Council became a national accrediting agency for medical schools, as an increasing number of states adopted its judgments of unacceptable institutions.” Further, he noted: “Even though no legislative body ever set up … the AMA Council on Medical Education, their decisions came to have the force of law”. With the AMA grading the various medical colleges, it became predictable that the homeopathic colleges, even the large and respected ones, would eventually be forced to stop teaching homeopathy or die.

In 1913, Simmons and the AMA went on the offensive even more strongly by their establishment of the “Propaganda Department,” which was specifically dedicated to attacking any and all unconventional medical treatments and anyone (MD or not) who practiced them. In this same year, Simmons hired Morris Fishbein, MD, as a publicity man for the AMA.

In 1924, Simmons was forced out of the AMA due to the many scandals around him, and he took home all his personal files and burned them, though Simmons was again wise enough to have trained his replacement, Morris Fishbein. Fishbein’s specialty was publicity and the media, and he used the media to attack anyone who provided a real or perceived threat to conventional medicine. Besides severe attacks against anyone who practiced unconventional medical treatments, Fishbein and the AMA were also initially extremely antagonistic to those conventional medical doctors who supported pre-paid health insurance.

Fishbein was a medical doctor who never practiced medicine. He was, however, an effective advocate for conventional medicine and a vocal critic of unconventional treatments. Shortly after he became head of the AMA, he wrote several books sharply critical of “medical quackery.” He called chiropractic a “malignant tumor,” and he considered osteopathy and homeopathy “cults.”

While Fishbein certainly provided benefit to the general public by warning them about some of the medical chicanery that existed at the time, he lumped together everything that was not taught in conventional medical schools and considered all such modalities quackery. When one considers that the vast majority of medicine practiced in that era was inadequately tested and dangerous to varying degrees, Fishbein’s obsessive fight against certain treatments provided direct benefits to the physicians he was representing.

Fishbein’s frequent and strident attacks on “health fraud” were broadcast far and wide, in part through his own newspaper column, syndicated to more than 200 newspapers, as well as a weekly radio program heard by millions of Americans. His influence on medicine and medical education was significant, and it is surprising how few medical history books mention his influence or his questionable tactics. Time magazine referred to him as “the nation’s most ubiquitous, the most widely maligned, and perhaps most influential medico.”

There are also numerous stories about Fishbein’s efforts to purchase the rights to various healing treatments, and whenever the owner refused to sell such rights, Fishbein would label the treatment as quackery. If the owner of the treatment or device was a doctor, this doctor would be attacked by Fishbein in his writings and placed on the AMA’s quackery list. And if the owner of the treatment or device was not a doctor, it was common for him to be arrested for practicing medicine without a license or have the product confiscated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Although Fishbein denied these allegations, he and the AMA were tried and convicted of anti-trust violations for conspiracy and restraint of trade in 1937. In fact, Fishbein was instrumental in helping the tobacco companies conduct acceptable “scientific” testing to substantiate their claims.

Some of the ad claims that Fishbein approved for inclusion in JAMA were:

“Not a cough in a carload” (for Old Gold cigarettes),

“Not one single case of throat irritation due to smoking Camels,”

“More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette,”

“Just what the doctor ordered” (L&M cigarettes)

“For digestion’s sake, smoke Camels”

.. because the magical Camel cigarettes would “stimulate the flow of digestive fluids”).

By 1950, the AMA’s advertising revenue exceeded $9 million, thanks in great part to the tobacco companies.

Coincidentally, shortly after Fishbein was forced out of his position in the AMA in 1950, JAMA published research results for the first time about the harmfulness of tobacco. Medical student Ernst Wynder and surgeon Evarts Graham of Washington University in St. Louis found that 96.5 percent of lung cancer patients in their hospitals had been smokers.

Very shortly after the AMA withdrew its seal of approval for Morris Fishbein, he became a high-paid consultant to one of the large tobacco companies.

To most Americans, the concept of “nonprofit” goes hand-in-hand with trust. If a person or an agency isn’t driven by money, they seem more likely to be trustworthy and unbiased. The American Medical Association (AMA) is a nonprofit agency whose mission is “to be an essential part of the professional life of every physician and an essential force for progress in improving the nation’s health,” according to the AMA’s website. It makes you wonder, then, why the AMA gladly accepted huge sums of advertising fees from tobacco companies who advertised heavily in its flagship journal, JAMA, throughout the 20th century.


Despite the fact that the AMA is stated to be a nonprofit association, it nevertheless has a troublesome history of focusing on money and control. Even its longtime campaign against chiropractic medicine appears grounded in money-making motives, since the association was attempting to eliminate orthodox medicine’s “competition.” Today, the AMA boasts that its core purpose is “to promote the science and art of medicine and the betterment of public health.” The AMA further claims “only the AMA has the national voice, the reputation and the stature to be a strong advocate for physicians and their patients.”

The experts speak on the AMA and Fishbein

Judge Getzendanner ruled,


“I conclude that an injunction is necessary in this case. There are lingering effects of this conspiracy; the AMA has never acknowledged the lawlessness of its past conduct and in fact to this day maintains that it has always been in compliance with the antitrust laws.”


The AMA was forced to circulate the contrite Order of Injunction through medical journals, hospitals, and many other outlets, and to cease and desist from obstructing the professional rights of the chiropractic profession. The conviction marked the third time in the century that the AMA was found guilty of antitrust violations for conspiracy and restraint of trade.


The medical association was first convicted in 1937 under Dr. Fishbein for trying to destroy an autonomous doctors’ group applying cost-cutting health delivery and insurance in Washington, D.C. It was again found guilty in 1982 by the Federal Trade Commission—a decision upheld by the Supreme Court, just as the earlier conviction was. This time the verdict confirmed the AMA’s decades-long, systematic violation of antitrust statutes.


Cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris, the Journal’s biggest single advertiser, also ran into some problems. Blitzing the AMA Journal and thirty-one state and regional medical journals, the start-up tobacco company was eager to publicize its innovative use of diethylene glycol as a hygroscopic agent (to retain moisture), in place of the glycerin used by other manufacturers. Philip Morris pegged its campaign on hyping the breakthrough that its cigarettes were consequently “less irritating to the throat.”


When the corporation approached the Journal with its ads, Dr. Fishbein courteously advised it how to go about conducting acceptable scientific testing to validate its unsubstantiated claims and thereby qualify. The cigarette manufacturer was eager to link its product with health benefits, and Dr. Fishbein saw a vast new opportunity for revenues from nonmedical products, despite the fact that by this time in the 1930s medical journals were already publication studies associating smoking with lung cancer. The company completed its testing at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons with findings that the cigarettes with diethylene glycol caused three times less swelling than other brands.


The company used these studies to launch its medical ad campaign, while supplying free smokes to doctors. One Journal ad read, “Patients with coughs were instructed to change to Philip Morris cigarettes. In three out of four cases, the coughs disappeared completely. When these patients changed back to cigarettes made by the ordinary method of manufacture, coughs had returned in one third of the cases. This Philip Morris superiority is due to the employment of diethylene glycol.” Ref: “When Healing Becomes A Crime” by Kenny Ausubel, page 90


The AMA was also composed almost entirely of male doctors and there were many swipes at women in Fishbein’s writing. It is interesting from a sociological point of view that nutrition and herbalism were opposed, in part, because they were associated with women. For example, Fishbein considered Eclecticism “the apotheosis of the old grandmother and witch-doctor systems of treatment.” It arose out of “the medical practice of an old-woman herb doctor.” Herbal remedies, built up over decades of careful observation, were mockingly derided as “veritable vegetable soups“. Fishbein considered anything traditional in medicine to be abhorrent. He saw the botanical drugs of the late 19th century as “almost a replica of the herbals of the 17th and 18th century Europe.”


One of the landmark days in the recent history of alternative medicine in the U.S. was August 27, 1987. On that day, District Judge Susan Getzendanner found the American Medical Association (AMA) and fourteen associated parties guilty of waging a conspiracy against chiropractors to contain and eliminate them entirely, in violation of the Sherman Antitrust law. …the fourteen litigators probably cost AMA at least $15 million. 
Physician by Richard Leviton, page 28


Fishbein’s early success combating quackery revealed to him a gold mine of limitless possibilities. In rapid-fire succession he cranked out three books: Fads and Quackery, Medical Follies, and The New Medical Follies.


“As one reads the rolls of fakirs down through the ages,” Fishbein gleefully penned, “one becomes almost convinced of the doctrine of transmigration of souls.”


Dr. Fishbein also utilized the “Devil theory of history,” as one observer put it, exemplified by his quackdown.


In Medical Follies, he dubbed the profession of chiropractic a “malignant tumor” whose theory was “so simple that even farm-hands can grasp it.


“It has been said that osteopathy is essentially a method of entering the practice of medicine by the back door. Chiropractic, by contrast, is an attempt to arrive through the cellar. The man who applies at the back door at least makes himself presentable. The one who comes through the cellar is besmirched with dust and grime; he carries a crowbar and he may wear a mask.”


Under Dr. Fishbein’s direction, the AMA Bureau of Investigation’s quack files swelled to a prodigious 300,000 names.


…Even the American Medical Association (AMA) was complicit in suppressing results of tobacco research. In 1964, the Surgeon General’s report condemned smoking, however the AMA refused to endorse it. … 
Death By Medicine by Gary Null PhD, page 25


The campaign was wildly successful and established Philip Morris as a major tobacco player, until, in 1937, seventy-two people died as a result of using a drug called Sulfanalamide Massengill. With help from the AMA itself, the toxic agent was determined to be diethylene glycol. Dr. Fishbein hit the ground backpedaling. He defended his advertiser in an editorial by saying


“There is no evidence that the ordinary use of diethylene glycol in industry, or as an ingredient in the manufacture of cigarettes, is harmful.”


The company was so grateful that it offered him a retainer for his services, which he refused, tipping his editor’s public health hat. Other cigarette manufacturers quickly followed suit in their entry into the medical market using physician testimonials.


More Doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette was the slogan at Camel’s exhibit at the 1947 AMA convention. Only in the 1950s, when overwhelming evidence of the causation of lung cancer by smoking reached the public, did the Journal stop accepting tobacco ads, though Dr. Fishbein was by then serving as a paid consultant to the Lorillard tobacco company. Through its Members’ Retirement Fund, the AMA continued to own tobacco stock in the seven figures until the mid-1980s. Numerous physicians complained of other high-pressure tactics from Chicago. Dr. George Starr White, a respected physician who lectured extensively to doctors and reputedly had the largest private practice in the country, described how two doctors from AMA headquarters approached him with a proposition.


The AMA could not survive on membership dues alone, and without the income secured by him, the Association would undoubtedly flounder. The key to financial solvency for the organization has been its monthly publication, the AMA Journal. It was begun in 1883 by Dr. Simmons as a last-ditch effort to save the infant association from bankruptcy. Its first press run was 3,500 copies and sold at a subscription rate of five dollars per year. But it was anticipated that the bulk of the revenue would be derived from advertisers.


By 1973, under the tight control of Managing Editor Dr. Morris Fishbein, it had a print run of almost 200,000 copies each month and had extended its publication list to include twelve separate journals including the layman’s monthly, Today’s Health.


Altogether the AMA now derives over ten million dollars per year in advertising, which is almost half of the Association’s total income. Who advertises in the AMA Journal and related publications? The lion’s share is derived from the Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s Association whose members make up ninety-five percent of the American drug industry.


When Dr. Fishbein took the stand under cross-examination, the digging done by Hoxsey’s lawyers paid off. Under oath, Dr. Fishbein made shocking admissions. He failed anatomy in medical school. He never completed his internship before going to work at the Journal. He never practiced a day of medicine or treated a single patient in his entire career. Dr. Fishbein was sweating profusely by the time he left the stand. His definition of a quack as “one who pretends to medical skill he does not possess” now reflected back in an unseemly mirror.


… The American Medical Association had just been convicted in federal court of a “conspiracy to destroy and eliminate” the chiropractic profession.” The court judgment was unequivocal.


“For over twelve years and with the full knowledge and support of their executive officers, the AMA paid the salaries and expenses for a team of more than a dozen medical doctors, lawyers, and support staff for the expressed purpose of conspiring (overtly and covertly) with others in medicine to first contain, and eventually, destroy the profession of chiropractic in the United States and elsewhere.”


Also convicted with the AMA were the American College of Surgeons and the American College of Radiologists.


The Journal, after all, solicits advertisers to pay top dollar for its pages, whose 750,000 circulation still commands the greatest market share of doctors (including fifteen international editions in 150 countries). The lure of advertising profits continues to compete with the impartiality of “scientific medicine.”


The AMA medical publicity machine Dr. Fishbein founded is running in perpetual overdrive today.


The “JAMA Report,” a video news release, goes out weekly on satellite to every TV network and local station in the United States, reaching between 25 and 110 million viewers. Most major newspapers routinely scan JAMA for breaking stories, as do wire services and radio. The AMA also floods about 2,500 press outlets worldwide with weekly e-mails and faxes. The credibility of the AMA’s vaunted Code of Ethics, which ostensibly puts the profession of healing above business, is in tatters today.


In 1998 the AMA once again was mired in negative publicity as the Seal of Acceptance experienced its latest devaluation. After the AMA granted the Sunbeam corporation an exclusive product endorsement for the manufacturer’s medical devices without even testing them, the medical association was set to receive millions of dollars in licensing fees, which it planned to use to offset declining membership dues.


Textbook of Natural Medicine Volumes 1-2 by Joseph E Pizzorno and Michael T Murray, page 35


In a brief twenty years, the AMA came to dominate medical practice through brute financial force, political manipulation, and professional authority enhanced by rising public favor with “scientific” medicine. The AMA emerged as the supreme arbiter of medical practice, making binding pronouncements regulating even the most picayune details. American medicine surged forward as a profit-driven enterprise of matchless scope. By the time Dr. Morris Fishbein assumed the mantle of Dr. Simmons, who had himself started out as a homeopath, the AMA was at the helm of a strapping new industry flying the allopathic flag. The code word for competition was quackery.


Dr. Fishbein’s crusade to eliminate the irregulars played no small part in the AMA’s financial success by throttling economic competition. While member dues accounted for half the AMA’s revenues, the balance flowed from the Journal, now the most profitable publication in the world. Flush with revenues, it soon became known as “the tail that wagged the dog.” In addition, the Journal owned or controlled another half-dozen medical journals along with the thirty-five state society journals, with advertising revenues of over $2 million, a huge sum in those days.


The AMA’s core mission of preserving the power, privilege, and financial prosperity of doctors has established it as an organization “notorious for confrontation, ultimatums, and hardball politics”.


Its political action committee, AMPAC, has given over $100 million over the last twenty years to 83 percent of federal congressional representatives and senators. The AMA actually owns the very building in the nation’s capital that the government leases for its federal political action committee monitoring program.


One of the reasons for this investment success was that over ten-million dollars of the organization’s retirement fund had been put into leading drug companies.



November 22, 1982 Phil Donahue show, the Vice-President of the AMA admitted his organization was nothing but a union. Therefore, perhaps it is appropriate that the public start coldly viewing the AMA doctors as an organized conspiracy in restraint of trade. AMA Vice-President James Sammons stated on the November 22, 1982 Phil Donahue show:


“Our reasons for being in political action are exactly the same as the AFL-CIO. Exactly.”



Perhaps the most powerful of the state organizations affiliated with the AMA is the California Medical Association (CMA). California is a natural hotbed for innovative therapies. Thus the CMA guardian role in keeping alternative therapies restricted is a critical one. If California were to open its doors to alternative therapies (for cancer and otherwise) which successfully provided a viable alternative to the seriously ill patient, the entire national program of the AMA could be threatened.


According to a 1987 article in the San Diego Union, the CMA was the largest cash contributor to the state legislators for the previous five years. Most significant, the article reported what the CMA got for its payoff money:



“that of the 155 bills that the CMA adamantly opposed last year ‘ not a single one was enacted into law by the Legislature.

For over 12 years and with the full knowledge and support of their executive officers, the AMA paid the salaries and expenses for a team of more than a dozen medical doctors, lawyers and support staff for the expressed purpose of conspiring (overtly and covertly) with others in medicine to first contain, and eventually, destroy the profession of chiropractic in the United States and elsewhere.”

This was not speculation. The actions taken by the U.S. Court of Appeals 7th circuit support Ausubel’s accusation. In 1990, chiropractic doctors Chester A. Wilk, James W. Bryden, Patricia B. Arthur and Michael D. Pedigo won a landmark antitrust lawsuit against the AMA. The court ruled that the AMA had violated the Sherman Act by

“conducting an illegal boycott in restraint of the trade directed at chiropractors generally, and at the four plaintiffs in particular.”

This 1990 verdict against the AMA followed three other antitrust cases against the association in 1978, 1980 and 1986, all of which were settled.

In 1987, the AMA was found guilty of conspiring for 20 years to destroy the profession of chiropractic. The court concluded,

“Under the Sherman Act, every combination or conspiracy in restraint of trade is illegal. The court has held that the conduct of the AMA and its members constituted a conspiracy in restraint of trade” (September 25, 1987).

But nothing halted the far more lethal AMA practice of attacking alternative cancer physicians and alternative practitioners (non-MDs) using non-drug approaches, through the state medical licensing boards, district attorneys and business networks.

But that was all in the 50s. Surely the AMA has improved with time, right? Perhaps not.

According to a 1998 article in The New York Times, the AMA paid Sunbeam Corp. $9.9 million to avoid a breach-of-contract trial with the company after pulling out of a five-year, multi-million-dollar endorsement deal. The AMA would have made millions of dollars in royalties by endorsing Sunbeam’s blood pressure monitors, humidifiers and other products, but the association backed out of the deal after being criticized because it had no plans to test the products. The AMA had basically made a profit-making deal to endorse products they had no plans of testing beforehand. The AMA only pulled out once the public got wind of the deal.

Does this situation sound familiar? It sounds a bit Fishbein-esque; although Fishbein’s “seal of acceptance” program was abandoned in 1955 after a lawsuit was brought against the AMA. It was settled out of court – much like the Sunbeam suit.

A citizen’s right to a choice between competing health practitioners, including non-MDs (non-drug therapists), has long been recognized in international law, particularly the Nuremberg Code. The principle has even been articulated by an outstanding political leader, Dwight Eisenhower, the AMA’s own Judicial Council, and the AMA President.

But Federal and State laws must guarantee these rights. Otherwise, organizations such as the AMA will continue to obstruct them through state medical licensing boards and state “medical quality” laws. And these rights must apply to the cancer patient, not just the relatively healthy person who wants to shop for therapies.

“The right of the individual to elect freely the manner of his care in illness must be preserved.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States, 1953-1961

“The freedom of the individual to select his preferred system of medical care and free competition among physicians and alternative systems of medical care are prerequisites of ethical practice and optimal medical care.”Judicial Council of theAMA, 1981

“The individual’s freedom of choice remains a cornerstone of the American system.”Dr. Alan R. Nelson, President,AMA, March 7, 1990

JAMA kicks off two decades of cigarette advertising

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published its first cigarette advertisement in 1933, stating that it had done so only “after careful consideration of the extent to which cigarettes were used by physicians in practice.” These advertisements continued for 20 years. The same year, Chesterfield began running ads in the New York State Journal of Medicine, with the claim that its cigarettes were:

 “Just as pure as the water you drink… and practically untouched by human hands.”

In medical journals and in the popular media, one of the most infamous cigarette advertising slogans was associated with the Camel brand:

More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.

The campaign began in 1946 and ran for eight years in magazines and on the radio. The ads included this message:

“Family physicians, surgeons, diagnosticians, nose and throat specialists, doctors in every branch of medicine… a total of 113,597 doctors… were asked the question: ‘What cigarette do you smoke?

And more of them named Camel as their smoke than any other cigarette! Three independent research groups found this to be a fact. You see, doctors too smoke for pleasure. That full Camel flavor is just as appealing to a doctor’s taste as to yours… that marvelous Camel mildness means just as much to his throat as to yours.”

Big Tobacco’s suppression of scientific evidence

At the same time that JAMA ran cigarette ads, it published in 1950 the first major study to causally link smoking to lung cancer. Morton Levin, then director of Cancer Control for the New York State Department of Health, surveyed patients in Buffalo, N.Y., from 1938 to 1950 and found that smokers were twice as likely to develop lung cancer as non-smokers.

Cigarette producers may have hoped that the public would remain unaware of studies published in medical journals. However, the dangers of smoking became widely known in 1952 when Reader’s Digest published “Cancer by the Carton,” detailing the dangers of cigarettes. Within a year, cigarette sales fell for the first time in more than two decades. The tobacco industry responded swiftly, engaging the medical community in its efforts. The Tobacco Industry Research Committee (TIRC) was formed by U.S. tobacco companies in 1954. By sponsoring “independent” scientific research, the TIRC attempted to keep alive a debate about whether or not cigarettes were harmful.

The industry announced the formation of the TIRC in an advertisement that appeared in The New York Times and 447 other newspapers reaching more than 43 million Americans. The advertisement, titled “A Frank Statement to Cigarette Smokers,” read:

“RECENT REPORTS on experiments with mice have given wide publicity to a theory that cigarette smoking is in some way linked with lung cancer in human beings.

Although conducted by doctors of professional standing, these experiments are not regarded as conclusive in the field of cancer research. However, we do not believe that any serious medical research, even though its results are inconclusive should be disregarded or lightly dismissed.

At the same time, we feel it is in the public interest to call attention to the fact that eminent doctors and research scientists have publicly questioned the claimed significance of these experiments.

Distinguished authorities point out:

    1. That medical research of recent years indicates many possible causes of lung cancer.
    2. That there is no agreement among the authorities regarding what the cause is.
    3. That there is no proof that cigarette smoking is one of the causes.
    4. That statistics purporting to link cigarette smoking with the disease could apply with equal force to any one of many other aspects of modern life. Indeed the validity of the statistics themselves is questioned by numerous scientists.

We accept an interest in people’s heath as a basic responsibility, paramount to every other consideration in our business.

We believe the products we make are not injurious to health.

We always have and always will cooperate closely with those whose task it is to safeguard the public health. For more than 300 years tobacco has given solace, relaxation, and enjoyment to mankind. At one time or another during those years critics have held it responsible for practically every disease of the human body. One by one these charges have been abandoned for lack of evidence.

Regardless of the record of the past, the fact that cigarette smoking today should even be suspected as a cause of a serious disease is a matter of deep concern to us.

Many people have asked us what we are doing to meet the public’s concern aroused by the recent reports. Here is the answer:

    1. We are pledging aid and assistance to the research effort into all phases of tobacco use and health. This joint financial aid will of course be in addition to what is already being contributed by individual companies.
    1. For this purpose we are establishing a joint industry group consisting initially of the undersigned. This group will be known as TOBACCO INDUSTRY RESEARCH COMMITTEE.
    1. In charge of the research activities of the Committee will be a scientist of unimpeachable integrity and national repute. In addition there will be an Advisory Board of scientists disinterested in the cigarette industry. A group of distinguished men from medicine, science, and education will be invited to serve on this Board. These scientists will advise the Committee on its research activities.

This statement is being issued because we believe the people are entitled to know where we stand on this matter and what we intend to do about it.”

Doctors’ involvement in the tobacco deception

The statement — signed by presidents of major tobacco interests including Phillip Morris, Brown & Williamson, and R.J. Reynolds — was designed to launch the “controversy” which I mentioned earlier. In fact, there was no controversy. The research results were clear: smoking had been proven harmful — not just to mice, but to people who had for years been advised that smoking offered health benefits.

The TIRC promised to convene “a group of distinguished men from medicine, science, and education” and it did so. Early members of the TIRC’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) included: McKeen Cattell, PhD, MD, professor of pharmacology from Cornell University Medical College; Julius H. Comroe, Jr., MD, director of the University of California Medical Center’s cardiovascular research institute and chairman of University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Medicine; and Edwin B. Wilson, PhD, LLD, professor of vital statistics, Harvard University.

According to the New York State Archives, the *TIRC’s functions:

*i.e. Tobacco Industry’s Research Committee included both the funding of research and carrying out public relations activities relating to tobacco and health.”

Faced with mounting evidence that smoking was harmful:

“it became evident that this was not a short-term endeavor, and that it was difficult to manage both scientific research and public relations in one organization. As a result, the Tobacco Institute was formed to assume the public relations functions, and the Council for Tobacco Research (CTR) was formed and incorporated to provide funding for scientific research.”

Whether or not individual doctors supported smoking, lending their names to the TIRC gave it credibility. The Center for Media and Democracy has reported that many of the scientists who were members of the Scientific Advisory Board privately “disagreed with the tobacco industry’s party line.” According to the center’s website: “In 1987, Dr. Kenneth Warner polled the SAB’s 13 current members, asking, ‘Do you believe that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer?’

Seven of the SAB members refused to answer the question, even after Warner promised individual anonymity. The other six all answered in the affirmative. ‘I don’t think there’s a guy on the [Board] who doesn’t believe that cigarette smoking contributes to an increased risk of lung cancer,’ one said, adding that the SAB’s members were ‘terrified’ to say so publicly out of fear of involvement in tobacco product liability lawsuits.”

If it was fear that kept doctors on board with the TIRC and its renamed version, CTR, it did not stop them from handing out research grants. The Center for Media and Democracy describes some of the early grants:

“Research projects attempted to show that both lung cancer and smoking were caused by some other ‘third factor,’ such as a person’s psychological makeup, religion, war experiences or genetic susceptibility. One research project asked whether the handwriting of lung cancer patients can reveal characteristics associated with lung cancer. Another looked for enzyme markers predicting susceptibility to lung cancer.”

After three decades, the AMA finally admits smoking is harmful

After the 1964 Surgeon General’s landmark report on the dangers of cigarettes, the CTR stepped up its work, providing materials to defend the tobacco industry against litigation. The same year — three decades after medical research demonstrated the dangers of cigarettes — the American Medical Association finally issued statement on smoking, calling it “a serious health hazard.”

It was not until 1998 that the CTR was shut down — and only after the tobacco industry lost a major court case brought forward by states across the country.

“[The AMA] is just another mean trust
Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States.

“In the 1960’s, the AMA started a secret group called the Department of Investigations. Their sole purpose was to identify and destroy any form of alternative or challenging medical health care. As a result, upwards of seventy people worked to deny chiropractic, podiatry, and many other areas of medical practice any access to the American health care delivery system, which would have helped these people.

“I wrote an article in 1972 based upon files that were taken out of the AMA headquarters that led five chiropractors to sue the AMA, and the AMA ended up being found guilty of conspiracy to violate the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and Restraint of Trade, along with ten other major medical organizations in the country. One organization settled before it went to trial. A million documents were uncovered. In that, you see that organized medicine had no interest in having the average American be responsible for their health. Didn’t want prevention. And EVERYTHING that was anything other than their view was destroyed,”

Dr Gary Null, author of Fascism in Medicine

“This medical strangle hold did not just happen with the passing of time; it was a planned conspiracy against the American people, with an “eye” to the financial gains of the doctors. A sample of this strategy may be seen in the following speech of Dr. W. A. Evans, one of the top medical “bosses,” and Health Commissioner for the city of Chicago, who gave these instructions to the doctors in their annual convention of the American Medical Association in 1911: “The thing for the medical profession to do, is to get right into, and man every important health movement; man health departments, tuberculosis societies, housing societies, child care and infant societies, etc. The future of the profession depends on it. . . The profession cannot afford to have these places occupied by other than medical men.”

This pronouncement was published in the journal of the A. M. A., September 16, 1911. Just how whole-heartedly this decree was carried out is clearly shown by how completely all the non-medical schools of healing such as chiropractic, naturopathic, religious science, hygienics, etc., have been excluded from such tax supported institutions as health boards, public hospitals, army camps, state prisons, workman’s compensation bureaus, asylums, etc,”

Eleanor McBean

“Consider the AMA. Almost half of its income every year is derived not from membership dues, but from the average doctor who knows nothing about what the AMA is doing and is unable to have any voice in it. Half of the income comes from cartel drug firms, in the form of advertising in the “Journal of the American Medical Association”. Ten million dollars a year is funneled into the AMA from drug firms. Plus, ten million dollars of AMA money is invested in stock ownership in these big drug companies. That is what you might call a conflict of interest.

“The American Medical Association, since 1975, has channeled somewhere in the vicinity of $75 million into its own political action committee, the American Medical Political Action Committee (AMPAC). This money is funnelled through to favored candidates who run for office all over the US. The federal watchdog agency whose job it is to keep PACs like AMPAC honest is the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The FEC has its Washington offices in a building at 999 E Street, NW. The building is owned by the American Medical Association,”

Jon Rappoport, author of Ownership of All Life.

The medical establishment, which not only controls which treatments doctors will use, also control what medical “theories” doctors will believe and apply!! They will pick the medical theories that deliver the most profits for Big Pharma and the AMA’s doctors.

These absurd medical theories then control the research direction and research money. In other words, the lust for profits controls the research money. Perhaps the reader can understand why people like John D. Rockefeller, Sr. were so anxious to set up foundations to control the direction of medical research. Their “generous” contributions had nothing to do with any concern for humanity, they wanted to control medical research.

“Research shows that during the first one hundred years of the AMA’s existence it formed councils and committees which sat in judgement of its economic competitors. These committees would “investigate” the various alternative health-care systems and would then report on their findings and make determinations and recommendations that the public should stay away from such “quackery.”

The CCHI and the AMA’s Committee on Quackery continued to serve this function from 1963 to 1975. However, when the writing was on the wall, Doyl Taylor saw that his propaganda department was “going down for the count.” He apparently took steps to see that his work continued even if he weren’t around to supervise the AMA’s campaigns against the “quacks.”

In his description of what the CCHI should be, he took steps to maintain its secrecy by dictating that no minutes of their meetings should be taken. This made finding the new CCHI (or “shadow” CCHI) a lot more difficult. However, even those most careful to cover their tracks often leave clues for determined investigators to find. In the case of the CCHI, Taylor left one big clue.

In the OBJECTIVES and GOALS of the CCHI, he stated:

“Protection of the public by gathering and disseminating by all means possible any and all information involving health quackery to each member [of the conference], particularly those agencies involved in law enforcement.”

By itself it isn’t much of a clue. But when one dissects this stated GOAL of the CCHI and looks closely, one can clearly see several good leads to follow in unearthing this “shadow CCHI.” To find such an organization, one needs to find a group who:

First, is pretentious and arrogant enough to espouse the principle that the public needs to be “protected” in the health-care marketplace. From what are we being “protected”? Health “quackery” of course. Exactly what is health “quackery“? Apparently, it’s simply anything that the medical and pharmaceutical industry cannot control. Interestingly, it is also the [italics] economic competition [end italics] to drugs and medical treatment.

For some years prior to the 1975 dissolution of his Department, Taylor worked to get groups outside the AMA to take an active role in their campaign against “quackery.” One of Taylor’s tactics had been to get other groups to take a stand against quackery, to develop position papers on quackery, and to parallel what the AMA was doing in this area. Quite often these groups would simply duplicate the AMA’s position on the issue.

The AMA would help that group develop their statements, and then the AMA would tout the group’s position as being independent of the AMA’s. In this fashion the AMA used the other group’s statements to strengthen its own campaign. In the seedy world of intelligence this is known as “multiple reports.” One creates outlets from outside one’s immediate area, and then points to these reports as evidence that there is a “national movement” or “public opinion” against one’s target in a campaign.

The AMA was not beyond setting up such groups. The Department of Investigation was itself a front group, in a sense. It appeared to function as a clearinghouse of information on quackery, when in fact it was much more than that. It was a propaganda machine involved in effecting the destruction of medicine’s competition. It didn’t just collect, organize, and disseminate information on quackery. In its attempts to adversely influence government reports and studies on medicine’s economic competition, it was directly involved in working behind the scenes to get insurance plans to exclude its competition. This was an anti-competitive activity.

Dr. Stephen Barrett’s specialty was attacking chiropractic, and, as the AMA News pointed out, Barrett’s group was instrumental in helping to defeat legislation “requiring chiropractic coverage under Blue Shield.” August 25, 1975, describing the Lehigh Valley Committee Against Health Fraud. This was five years after it was incorporated. [quote follows]

“Several of the professional societies endorsed our group and donated money to help the Lehigh Valley Committee Against Health Fraud, Inc. The medical society allowed us to use its office equipment until we obtained our own.

….By working “undercover” using assumed names and box numbers, we’ve gotten all sorts of information and publications other groups, like the medical societies, haven’t been able to lay their hands on.

….Really, we’re a bunch of guerrillas – we’re not a large group, there are about 40 members, but we’re the only such group in the country.”

This was one of the many connections between Barrett and members of the CCHI that have been uncovered over the years. However, this was the first [italics] published [end italics] link that I could find. As will be seen later, Barrett’s relationship with the governmental members (U.S. FDA, FTC, and U.S. Postal Service) continues even today.

His group was touted by the AMA News as providing the media with “one of the country’s most complete clearinghouses of information on quackery.””

“At the time Taylor wrote his infamous memorandum to the AMA’s Board of Trustees in 1971 stating that the Committee on Quackery’s prime mission was first “the containment of chiropractic, and ultimately, the elimination of chiropractic,” he was also feeding his files to Barrett, and apparently had been doing so for more than a year.

Here we see that a group, the Lehigh Valley Committee Against Health Fraud, was set up to act as a clearinghouse of information on “health fraud and quackery,” probably using as a data base the AMA’s Department of Investigation’s files, [just like the AMA provided their files to Carnegie foundation for Flexner report] as well as information that Barrett was able to assemble on his own.

This group dedicates itself to attacking the same targets that the AMA has been going after for years. The AMA then uses this group’s statements and press articles as a means to strengthen its own campaign [like AMA Resol#814, 902 and 904 and SOPP and AMA and ACOG’s with Rel#204, 205] against alternatives by pointing to this group and touting its work in the area of anti-quackery as being another source “outside of organized medicine” which feels the same way about alternatives.”

“In 1975, Barrett stated that his group was the only one of its kind in the United States. However, this was soon to change. In December 1977, a new group came into being in Southern California. It called itself the Southern California Council Against Health Fraud, and it was headed up by a man named William Jarvis, headquartered at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California.

The group formed several years after the AMA’s Department of Investigation disbanded. It is unlikely that Jarvis’ group had the same access to the AMA Department of Investigation’s clearinghouse on “quackery” that Barrett had. However, the two apparently did hook up. In December 1984, Jarvis changed the name of his group to the National Council against Health Fraud (NCAHF). This group included Dr. Stephen Barrett on its Board of Directors, and Barrrett’s group is an affiliate of the NCAHF to this day.”

“The similarities between the Barrett group, the Jarvis group, and the AMA’s anti-competitive campaign are many. In one of the newspaper articles on the Southern California Council Against Health Fraud in the Los Angeles Times, Jarvis quoted as attacking vitamins, raw milk, and laetrile. Each of these was a target of the AMA’s campaign from the past.

Each of these groups attacked the very same targets that the AMA had been attacking from 1963 to 1975, as well as many new ones. The difference was that on the surface they had no known connections to the AMA, even though they were apparently continuing the AMA’s “quackery” campaign. It would appear that these groups are paralleling the old anti-competitive campaign that the medical establishment initiated with the help of the pharmaceutical industry in the name of “consumer protection.”

Each group claims to be in independent of any medical association or the drug industry. However, this may not be the case. There is a very strong indication from documentation obtained over the years that these groups have been acting in the capacity of mouthpieces for orthodox medicine. This adds a new twist to the old anti-competitive propaganda campaign, and has been going on since 1983.

This campaign has been found to be financed by the vested interests within the pharmaceutical industry. Additionally, there are direct links between these groups and the AMA, the Federal Trade Commission, the United States Postal Inspectors, the United States Food and Drug Administration, and the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Each of these groups was at one time a member of the old Coordinating Conference on Health Information (CCHI). Their function today is apparently the same as it was when they were dictated to by the AMA at the CCHI meetings.

Who would stand to gain the most today from such an anti-competitive campaign? Upon inspection the answer would be (a) the medical establishment, and (b) the pharmaceutical industry.”

“Additionally, this campaign has targeted vitamins, homeopathy, naturopathy, and many others. The removal of these options would represent many billions of dollars in new drug sales.”

The increase in drug sales is good reason in itself to conduct a campaign directed at one’s economic competitors. The earlier campaign and the current one have [italics] dollars and profits [end italics] as one common denominator. The other common denominator is that both campaigns are in blatant violation of antitrust laws, as well as RICO conspiracy laws. There can be little doubt that the current crusade is just an extension of the earlier campaign.

The current campaign has several elements in it that were not seen as frequently in the old AMA campaign. These include such illegal acts as breaking and entry, unauthorized phone taps, the theft of files from practitioners’ offices, intimidation and harassment of patients, violations of search-and-seizure statutes, physical violence and threats of violence, and break-ins into attorneys’ offices involving the theft of case records.

In most cases, the perpetrators of these illegal acts have not yet been identified or prosecuted. However, these crimes [italics] are [end italics] being committed against alternative practitioners, manufacturers, and distributors.

Pulitzer Prize (1984) author Paul Starr explained the interlocking interests in his award-winning book, The Social Transformation of American Medicine:

“Medical authority in prescribing drugs and other products enabled the AMA to stand between the manufacturers and their markets. This strategic gatekeeping role permitted the AMA, in effect, to levy an advertising toll on the producers.

Revenues from journal advertisements became the principal source of funds for the association. In 1912 the AMA set up a cooperative advertising bureau, which channeled advertisements to state medical journals. The bureau gave the AMA considerable financial leverage over the state medical societies and helped bind the national association even more tightly together.”