Post Wilk: Is Our Future Secure?

Christopher Kent DC, JD

In its 11-and-a-half decades of existence, the chiropractic profession has faced formidable challenges. From the jailing of founder D.D. Palmer to the vicious attacks by the AMA, only the resolve of courageous practitioners and the patients they served carried the day.

Recall that organized medicine opposed the very existence of chiropractic as a profession. On Nov. 2, 1963, the AMA created a "Committee on Quackery" with the goal of first containing and then eliminating chiropractic. Doyle Taylor, the director of the AMA Department of Investigation, served as secretary of the Committee on Quackery. The House of Delegates, governing body of the American Medical Association, had said formally: "Either the theories and practices of scientific medicine are right and those of the cultists are wrong, or the theories and practices of the cultists are right and those of scientific medicine are wrong."1

Principle 3 of the AMA Principles of Medical Ethics stated: "A physician should practice a method of healing founded on a scientific basis; and he should not voluntarily professionally associate with anyone who violates this principle."2 The AMA held that it was unethical for medical doctors to associate with an "unscientific practitioner" and labeled chiropractic "an unscientific cult."1-2 As a result, an antitrust suit was brought against the AMA and other medical associations in 1976 – Wilk, et al., v AMA, et al. The landmark lawsuit ended in 1987 when the Federal Appeals Court upheld the District Court decision, finding that the AMA had engaged in conspiracy and restraint of trade. The judge in the Wilk case said:

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