[back] Medical Politics books
The Assault On Medical Freedom
a book by P. Joseph Lisa c 1994
Section: The Problem
Chapter 3 - Rising Out of the Ashes
"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 economic competition to drugs and medical treatment.
Second, claims to be "protecting" the public by "gathering and disseminating any and all information involving health quackery." One would have to find a group that has a large storage of information on "health quackery."
Third, is connected to the government and whose members are "gathering and disseminating" information on "health quackery," particularly to "those involved in law enforcement."
Fourth, has a [italics] vested interest [end italics] or is doing the work of or for a vested interest. It was proven that the AMA had a vested interest in the original CCHI.
Fifth, consists of most of the same members of the CCHI, or at least is connected to the members of the CCHI.
Sixth, serves the same or similar function as did the CCHI in terms of spreading the propaganda through Congresses on Quackery or some similar type of "conference" on "quackery."
With these leads in mind, I began the search for the link between the old AMA campaign and the current one. I began to build the bridge between the two with information I had come across over the years, as well as information I obtained during my current investigation, which began in earnest in 1984.
Looking back at my visits with Doyl Taylor, I began to assemble the pieces of the puzzle using information he had bestowed upon me regarding activities the AMA was involved in regarding its fight against "quackery."
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.
Another way of doing this is to create either a front group or a cover organization to carry on one's campaign. In the case of a front group, one simply helps to start up a group which parallels one's own organization. One then can feed that group money or information or both. The front group usually has a different name, but its function is the same. It is always run by someone who knows what the group is all about. This leader is usually in direct communication with the group that helped set it up, so as to continue to receive support from the originating organization. An example of such an operation would be the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) setting up a front group such as Radio Free Moscow to transmit propaganda into the USSR. Radio Free Moscow would receive funding covertly, and the people who would run the operation would also be CIA operatives or employees. The role and mission would be known to all who work there.
However, the function and mission of a cover organization or group would be totally different. Upon cursory inspection it would appear to be just what it was held up to be. The employees of a cover group would not necessarily know what the group was really all about. The person heading the organization would know, but the link between this person and the organization he or she was truly working for would be totally hidden. Usually the group would be a self-supporting entity and no money trail would ever be found going back to the original group that set it all up.
For example, a public relations firm set up in New York during World War II headed by a third-generation German-American could serve as a cover group for a German spy. He or she would go about doing the normal business of a public relations firm. In actual fact, the head of this cover group would be using his firm as a cover to obtain information for the German cause. Upon inspection of the office files and operation, it would appear to be what it seemed to be, when in fact it is only a cover group.
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 behin the scenes to get insurance plans to exclude its competition. This was an anti-competitive activity.
As far as helping to set up front groups, this apparently came into play in the early 1970s. Doyl Taylor made it known that there was a psychiatrist in Allentown, Pennsylvania, a Dr. Stephen Barrett, who was a crusader against "quackery." Taylor encouraged me in 1970 to make contact with Barrett, as he was very involved in the same issues as the AMA, especially in the area of chiropractic. Taylor said that he had given Barrett full access to the "quackery" files in the department of Investigation between 1969 and 1975. Barrett's group was known as the Lehigh Valley Committee Against Health Fraud. ([italics] Health Fraud [end italics] is a euphemism for [italics] quackery [end italics] which is still used interchangeably today.) The group was incorporated in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on April 19, 1970.
In reviewing published statements by the AMA and Dr. Barrett, I was able to find some of the pieces of the puzzle in the AMA News, as well as in the minutes of the CCHI. These pieces pointed to the distinct possibility that organized medicine may very well have been involved in setting up, or helping to set up, the first group outside the AMA to fight "quackery" or "health fraud."
The following are Dr. Stephen Barrett's own words, published in the AMA News on August 25, 1975, describing the Lehigh Valley Committee Against Health Fraud. This was five years after it was incorporated.
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.
Here we have, in Barrett's own words, the apparent link between organized medicine and his group's operation. Although he didn't name the specific "professional societies" that endorsed and donated money to his group, he did state that such organizations as medical, dental, osteopathic, and pharmaceutical groups did help him set up his operation."
"Another piece of the puzzle came to light in the minutes of the May 4, 1973, meeting of the Coordinating Conference on Health Information. Lois Smith reported, "Dr. Steven Barrett, psychiatrist, Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, is writing a book entitled [italics] The Deadly Deceivers [end italics], covering all phases of quackery." Doyl Taylor was quick to add that "Dr. Barrett is zealously opposed to medical quackery," and Taylor suggested that members of the CCHI cooperate with Dr. Barrett in his quest to attack "quackery." 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."
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.
Among the targets that Barrett's group went after, in addition to chiropractic, were vitamins, "organic food fads," megavitamins; arthritis and cancer "quackery," naturopathy, acupuncture, and alternative "health promoters." Each of these alternative entities were also on the AMA's priority list. Considering the source of Barrett's "clearinghouse of information on quackery," it is not surprising that he pursued the same targets as those chosen by the AMA.
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, 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 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.
Soon after the NCAHF came into being, another group entered the scene. This was the Kansas City Coucil Against Health Fraud and Nutritional Abuse. It was headed by Dr. John Renner. His group also became an affiliate of the National Council Against Health Fraud. The Kansas City group changed its name a few times, also calling itself the Mid-West Council Against Health Fraud. Today Dr. John Renner heads up the Consumer Health Information Resource Institute, in Kansas City. Renner was also on the Board of Directors of the National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF), and his group is an affiliate member.
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.
Although these groups claim to be independent of any vested interests, in doing their work to "protect the public" from "quackery and health fraud" there is every indication that this may not be the case.
What the AMA was to the earlier conspiracy and anti-competitive campaign these groups are to the current propaganda campaign. The differences are (1) who is fronting the campaign, and (2) who is openly financing the current campaign.
The people bearing the message are different than in the earlier campaign, but these new messengers are singing the same tune. They are apparently carrying forward an older campaign to restrain and eliminate the competitors of organized medicine and the pharmaceutical industry. These groups claim that they have no financial interest in conducting such anti-competitive activities. However, although they are not the direct beneficiaries of such a campaign, it is possible to benefit in several other ways. These groups and their spokespersons stand to gain (1) publicity, (2) public exposure, (3) increased membership, (4) funding for their activity, (5) financial rewards from the insurance industry in the form of consulting fees for "peer review work" and evaluation of insurance claims, and (6) honorariums paid to these "expert" speakers at conventions and conferences.
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
The one thing about the current campaign that is very different from the old AMA campaign is that the funding lines have been discovered. It is clear who is behind this campaign, and it is not a shock to anyone familiar with the vested interests in the pharmaceutical industry.
The old campaign and the current campaign have this in common: [italics] the vested interests want the whole pie and thus more of the profits available in the health-care marketplace. [end italics] Unfortunately, they have been very successful in their attempt to accomplish this end."
====================================================End Excerpts of Section:
The Problem, Chapter 3 - Rising Out of the Ashes
To be continued.....