March 19, 2009 — In the latest step by the Brazilian Chiropractors’ Association (ABQ) to defend the chiropractic profession against efforts by the physiotherapy profession to have chiropractic declared a specialty of physiotherapy (PT), Federal Judge Diana Brunstein has ruled strongly in favor of the ABQ.
Chiropractic is a profession not a technique, says Judge Brunstein, and PT authorities should not seek to declare it a specialty of physiotherapy. An appeal by CREFITO, the regulatory body for PT in the State of Sao Paulo, asking to remove an earlier court injunction against CREFITO, was denied.
The background to this dispute is that the ABQ, representing under 400 chiropractors in Brazil, is promoting legislation to regulate the practice of chiropractic. The response of the national regulatory body COFFITO, representing over 90,000 PTs, has been to claim chiropractic is a specialty of PT.
In August 2008, PT agents in Sao Paulo began harassing chiropractors, most of whom are new graduates of Brazil’s two university-based chiropractic programs. Holding violation orders from their own CREFITO, and often accompanied the federal police, they tried to pressure DCs to sign declarations acknowledging the illegal practice of PT and to cease practice.
The ABQ and its lawyers were successful in getting an interim injunction to stop such harassment. CREFITO has sought to have the interim injunction removed but, after hearing argument and evidence from the ABQ, Judge Brunstein confirmed the injunction on March 3.
“We still have a long fight ahead”, says ABQ President Dr. Juliana Piva, “but this judgment gives us powerful new momentum as we work with legislators in Brasilia for chiropractic legislation.”
“We could not have achieved this success without vital financial and other support from the World Federation of Chiropractic and its member associations”, says Dr. Sira Borges, ABQ Past-President and leader of the legislative campaign. “There have been such generous donations from many associations and individuals – but particularly the American, Australian, British, Canadian, Danish and Norwegian associations.”
“It has been a privilege for the WFC to assist the ABQ in the outstanding work it is doing to protect the independence of the chiropractic profession in Brazil”, notes WFC President Dr. Stathis Papadopoulos of Cyprus. “This battle has obvious impact for the profession everywhere – I strongly encourage all associations and individual chiropractors to continue their financial support for the ABQ.”
For Judge Brunstein’s decision in Portuguese and English, much more information, a list of donors and a donation form should you be willing to assist with the ABQ’s ongoing legal and legislative costs, visit www.wfc.org/newsroom.