What’s Dr. Oz Smoking?
I’ve ranted and raved on more than one occasional about Dr. Oz and his breathless endorsements of weight loss supplements that have no business being endorsed. But no matter; regardless or whether or not such supplements are supported by an ounce of clinical data or not – and it’s usually the latter – anything that gets dropped from Oz’s lips is an instant best seller.
And despite the fact that nothing works as he claims it does, neither his credibility or popularity seem damaged. Oz, too, has become the Internet hucksters’ best friend; barely a week goes by after a supplement receives mention on his show before the Net is plastered with ads for it – available for sale at 4 times the normal price, auto-delivery included.
It’s enough to make you pull your hair out.
Anyway, enough about me ranting about Dr. Oz. I’m going to let someone else rant about Dr. Oz for a change. The following is an excerpt from a superb article written by Scott Gavura of Science-Based Pharmacy. Please follow the link to the whole thing – it’s well worth a read.
Thoughts of trust, accuracy, and ethics come up whenever I watch an episode of the Dr. Oz show. Should you happen to be someone that has never seen the show, Dr. Mehmet Oz is an Oprah protégé who has gone on to build a health media empire that is possibly the biggest vehicle for health pseudoscience and medical quackery on television. Whether it’s promoting homeopathy, recommending unproven supplements, or advocating ridiculous diet plans, there seems to be no health subject too dubious to endorse. Oz has established an impressive track record of providing highly questionable health advice. A few months ago I examined his absurd endorsement of green coffee beans, followed by his dubious “clinical trial” of green coffee beans that likely didn’t meet minimal research ethics standards. Then there was the weight loss “miracle” (his words), red palm oil, which followed the same episodic formula of breathless hyperbole backed by questionable evidence. One of the meta-trends of the Dr. Oz show are weight loss secrets – typically gimmicky interventions, supplements and therapies that he promotes as panaceas for obesity.
What frustrates me the most about Dr. Oz is that he should know better. He’s a heart surgeon, (who continues to treat patients), an academic, and a research scientist, with literally hundreds of publications to his name. He has gone through the peer review process more times than most health professionals. There is little reason to expect, based on his pre-television history, that he’d be willing to build a platform to offer demonstrably bad health advice. And that’s a shame, because with a show in 118 countries that reaches over 3 million viewers in the USA alone, it could be a powerful tool for providing good health information to those seeking it. And more often than not, that opportunity is squandered.