13 Colorado Medical Groups Sue Colorado Board of Chiropractic Over Drug Issue

Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation
13 Colorado Medical Groups Sue Colorado Board of Chiropractic Over Drug Issue

Injunction and Judicial Review Sought

In a sharp rebuke to the Board of Chiropractic’s bold attempts to ignore the law and the opinion of the State Attorney General by passing Rule 7 (c) which authorizes chiropractors in Colorado to administer drugs through topical, oral, inhalation and injection, 13 medical organizations have filed a complaint to prevent “irreparable injury and for judicial review of agency action.”  The Plaintiff’s also filed a motion for immediate injunctive relief.

Click here to read Complaint

Click here to read the Motion for Injunctive Relief

The Plaintiff’s, led by the Colorado Medical Society which has 7000 members, include:

  1. The Colorado Medical Society
  2. The Colorado Society of Osteopathic Medicine
  3. The Clear Creek Valley Medical Society
  4. The Weld County Medical Society
  5. The Aurora-Adams County Medical Society
  6. The Denver Medical Society
  7. The Mesa County Medical Society
  8. The Colorado Radiological Society
  9. The Colorado Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians
  10. The Boulder County Medical Society
  11. The Larimer County Medical Society
  12. The Colorado Orthopedic Society
  13. The Colorado Society of Anesthesiologists

The Complaint argues that the adoption of Rule 7(c) exceeds the statutory authority of the chiropractic board and is an “intrusion on the practice of medicine” that “threatens irreparable injury to the public welfare and the safety of the patients Plaintiffs’ members serve to protect.”   

On November 15, 2012 the Colorado Board of Chiropractic Passed Rule 7 C allowing for the administration and injection of legend drugs.

Click here to access all Rules adopted by the Board on November 15, 2012.

That Rule then went on to the Attorney General of the State of Colorado who opined on December 5, 2012 that Rules 6 and 29 were acceptable but that Rule 7 exceeded the legislative scope of authority of the chiropractic board.

Rule 7 (c) Reads:

C.  Nutritional Remedial Measures as referenced in Section 12-33-102(1), C.R.S., means that a doctor of chiropractic may administer, prescribe, recommend, compound, sell and distribute homeopathic and botanical medicines, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, enzymes, glandular extracts, non-prescription drugs, durable and non-durable medical goods and devices.

Administer includes Oral, Topical, Inhalation, and Injection.

All chiropractors that choose to administer homeopathic and botanical medicines, vitamins, and minerals.  phytonutrients,  antioxidants,  enzymes  and  glandular  extracts  by means  of injectable procedures shall  be  certified  by  the  Board.  Application for certification in lnjectables shall be made in a manner approved by the Board. Certification in lnjectables by the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners may be obtained by complying with the following:

1. Successfully complete a minimum of a combined total of 24 hours of theoretical study and supervised  clinical instruction obtained from a college of chiropractic approved by the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) or the equivalent hours of study and clinical  supervision  obtained  from  an  instructor  recognized  by  the  postgraduate facility of a chiropractic institution or approved by CCE to teach this course and
2. Passing a nationally recognized Injectable certification examination recognized by a CCE accredited chiropractic college.

The Complaint accuses the chiropractic board of exceeding its statutory authority to regulate the practice of chiropractic saying that the Colorado General Assembly gives limited rule making authority to:

“adopt, promulgate, and from time to time revise such rules and regulations not inconsistent with the law as may be necessary to enable it to carry out the provisions of this article.”

CMS argues further that the General Assembly has not authorized the chiropractic board to authorize the administration of drugs, that such administration of drugs is not within the scope of practice of chiropractors and that the practice of chiropractic must not infringe on the practice of medicine.

According to the Complaint, a license to practice chiropractic in Colorado: “Shall not confer upon the licensee the right to practice surgery or obstetrics or to prescribe, compound or administer drugs, or to administer anesthetics.”

The Plaintiff’s also assert in the complaint that by adopting Rule 7 (c) the chiropractic board has adopted rules defining the practice of medicine and thereby has violated the separation of powers embodied in the Colorado Constitution. CMS and its co-Plaintiffs argue that the Chiropractic Board has “…assumed a legislative role by attempting to enact law via the administrative rulemaking process.”

This is not the first time the Colorado board has attempted to expand the scope to allow for the administration and injection of legend drugs. In 2009 the board pushed forward a bill to change the statute in order to allow such practices. That bill never passed. Nevertheless, the board has gone ahead with trying to circumvent the law by adopting this Rule which has now been declared illegal by the Attorney General and has resulted in a lawsuit.

The current Rule to allow the administration and injection of legend drugs was supported by the Colorado Chiropractic Association and members of the American Chiropractic Association. In contrast, the International Federation of Chiropractors, the Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation and the Movement for Chiropractic Quality and Integrity and their constituents all wrote letters to the Attorney General urging him not to support the change in scope.

Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation