Not much more needs to be added to the debate over the American Medical Association's product endorsement arrangement with Sunbeam Corp. It was plainly a silly idea, and even the AMA admitted it was a mistake. There are better ways to "educate" the public than selling your soul and seal of approval. Reporter Bruce Japsen focused on a group that does it right, the American Dental Association (Sept. 1, p. 74).
The ADA has been in the endorsement business for 67 years. But rather than expectations of making money, it uses membership fees to help defray the annual cost of its $1.2 million Seal of Acceptance program. There are no exclusive arrangements and any manufacturer can voluntarily submit products for review. No royalties are involved, but there are dividends for dentists and their patients. They gain valuable insight into the safety and effectiveness of dental products.
Sadly, the AMA's ill-fated program offered little benefit to patients or physicians.