AMA's Bad Case of Embarassment

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CHICAGO: Sunbeam's breach-of-contract lawsuit against the American Medical Association is a prescription for an embarrassing court battle over a botched endorsement deal that should never have happened. The health care manufacturer wants the AMA to comply with the terms of its endorsement contract, or to pay out anticipated revenues from the agreement that Sunbeam estimates could have topped $20 million. The nation's largest doctors' organization renounced the five-year deal less than two weeks after announcing it last month, under heavy criticism for essentially selling its endorsement of devices such as thermometers and humidifiers. In exchange, the AMA was going to receive a percentage of revenues, which critics assailed as a payoff degrading the value of AMA approval. The AMA formally broke its the agreement in a letter delivered to the company Monday, explaining that the contract "contained elements that were inconsistent with American Medical Association policy and mission."