It’s about time that the crackdown on Dr Oz rises to the next level. Following publications by several medical journals speaking out against Dr Oz’s false health claims, the US Senate is now taking Dr Oz to task on his ‘miracle’ weight loss solutions that he touts on his TV show.
At a Senate hearing addressing over the counter diet supplements and products which Dr Oz attended as a panel member, he was openly and harshly confronted by Senator Claire McCaskill, a strong advocate for consumer protection.
She says to Dr Oz (and the entire video is well worth watching):
“I am concerned that you are melding medical advice, news, and entertainment, in a way that harms consumers…. I get that you do a lot of good on your show, but I don’t get why you need to say this stuff, because you know it’s not true.”
The ‘Dr Oz’ effect is known as the most powerful sales pitch in the diet industry – the problem is that most of the products he touts do not have scientific evidence to back them up. Some, such as the HCG diet, are dangerous.
Dr Oz’s shameless promotion of products without scientific evidence of benefit (and some with potential harm) is completely opposite to the appropriate behavior of a medical doctor. Our job as physicians is to critically assess scientific evidence, and only to recommend a treatment if there is evidence to prove that it is effective, and that the benefits outweigh the risks.
We take the Oath of Hippocrates on the day we become doctors, with two of the primary tenets being to prescribe medicines for the good of our patients, and never to do harm. Oz needs to take a long, hard look at himself in the mirror, and reflect on this oath that he committed to upholding years ago.
You can read about my thoughts about Dr Oz’s ‘superfoods’ here, and Dr Oz’s claims about Garcinia cambogia here.