Delegates ask AMA to study trademarks, RFID chips

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 10, 2006

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Is it unethical to use trademarks, copyrights and confidentiality agreements to limit access to new medical procedures and techniques? That's the question the AMA House of Delegates in June directed the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs to study.

In 1996 the house adopted a CEJA opinion declaring the use of patents to limit access to new procedures and techniques unethical, arguing that the profit motive should not interfere with doctors' ability to help their patients through innovative techniques.

Separately, the house at its Annual Meeting last month directed the AMA to study the medical and ethical implications of using radio frequency identification, or RFID, chips in humans.

Wal-Mart is scheduled to begin using such chips to track merchandise next year, and they are already used to track pets.

The FDA-approved implantable RFID chips in humans in 2004, and the technology is being marketed to hospitals and doctors as a way to ensure that patients' medical information is literally under their skin.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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