Wilk v. American Medical Association

Wilk V. American Medical Association

Wilk v. American Medical Association

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Wilk v. American Medical Association, (7th Cir. 1990), was a federal antitrust suit brought against the American Medical Association (AMA) and 10 co-defendants by chiropractor Chester A. Wilk, DC, and four co-plaintiffs. It resulted in a ruling against the AMA.

Case history

Pre-trial environment

Until 1983, the AMA held that it was unethical for medical doctors to associate with an "unscientific practitioner," and labeled chiropractic "an unscientific cult."

Before 1980, 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." In 1980 during a major revision of ethical rules (while the Wilk litigation was in progress), it replaced Principle 3, stating that a physician "shall be free to choose whom to serve, with whom to associate, and the environment in which to provide medical services." Also, up until 1974, the AMA had a Committee on quackery which challenged what it considered to be unscientific forms of healing. Wilk argued that this committee was established specifically to undermine chiropractic.

The first trial

In 1976, Chester Wilk and four other chiropractors sued the AMA, several nationwide healthcare associations, and several physicians for violations of sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act....
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