American Medical Association Starting to Take Quacks Seriously

The American Medical Association is, for the first time, beginning to take seriously the problem of grifters like Dr. Oz making huge money by peddling inaccurate medical advice in the media. This is at least a step in the right direction, though I don’t think it goes nearly far enough.

Medical students and residents frustrated with bogus advice from doctors on TV have, for more than a year, been asking the American Medical Association to clamp down and “defend the integrity of the profession.”

Now the AMA is finally taking a stand on quack MDs who spread pseudoscience in the media.

“This is a turning point where the AMA is willing to go out in public and actively defend the profession,” Benjamin Mazer, a medical student at the University of Rochester who was involved in crafting the resolution, said. “This is one of the most proactive steps that the AMA has taken [on mass media issues].”

The AMA will look at creating ethical guidelines for physicians in the media, write a report on how doctors may be disciplined for violating medical ethics through their press involvement, and release a public statement denouncing the dissemination of dubious medical information through the radio, TV, newspapers, or websites.

The move came out of the AMA’s annual meeting in Chicago this week, where representatives from across the country vote on policies brought forward by members of the medical community.

The AMA does not actually license doctors, so they are limited in what they can do. At the very least they can use their bully pulpit to condemn Dr. Oz and the many smaller versions of him around the country pushing “miracle” cures for everything from obesity to cancer. This kind of medical malpractice should result in losing one’s license to practice medicine.

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  • busterggi

    Please, please, please address the ridiculous Tommy Copper magic copper support band ads – it’s not really 1890 anymore.

  • D. C. Sessions

    I wonder how long it will take before the AMA notices the quackery in medical schools?

    A mutual friend of Ed’s and mine just graduated with a PhD from University of Arizona’s medical school, and tells of famous quack Andrew Weil’s exploits (and chain smoking, go figure.)

  • frankgturner

    Now if only this could be done in politics!

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Maybe one day the AMA will get around to addressing those FtB advertisers shilling (at present) “How to ‘Cleanse’ Your Belly”, “A Simple Way to Lose Fat and Reduce Gas and Bloating”, “Wow, You Will Not Believe Her Transformation”, “68-Year-Old Grandma Outsmarts Botox Doctors, Looks 40 Again”, and even “Controversial ‘Limitless Pill’ Used by the 1%”.

    You may say I’m a dreamer…

  • doublereed

    Wow this is an ambiguous title to the post.

  • eric

    The AMA will look at creating ethical guidelines for physicians in the media

    Call me a cynic, but ‘a decision to look into creating guidelines’ sounds a lot like ‘the check is in the mail, we promise.’

  • blf

    As Ed implies, the AMA can’t really “go after” a quack, other than in the sense of applying moral pressure, revoking membership (for, e.g, Code of Practice violations), and, perhaps, something like an AMA List of Memberships Revoked for Quackery (Code of Practice Violations) to consult. As such, I doubt there will be (e.g.) much impact on the dubious FtB ads, albeit I suppose “Dr” Ozisaquack might feel some heat (albeit perhaps not enough to cook his duck)…