Bad Medicine for AMA

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When the American Medical Association revealed three months ago it had agreed to endorse a line of Sunbeam products, the plan was almost universally denounced as poison for the credibility of the 150-year-old organization. So the AMA backed down. Thursday its chief executive, Dr. P. John Seward, resigned, anticipating a lambasting at the association's semi-annual meeting next week. He is the fifth high-level AMA officer to do so since the deal was announced.

Yet next week, the AMA's policy-setting House of Delegates will be considering a proposal titled "Principles to Guide A.M.A Corporate Relationships." Seems the Sunbeam deal never got voted on, just shouted down, and an official policy decision has still to be made. Critics of the first deal, which include scores of doctors as well as consumer advocacy groups, are shaking their heads.

The AMA has not publicly defended itself on the renewed proposal, but is said to be financially strapped because of declining membership. Shilling for commercial products in search of royalties is not likely to help.