Dr. Oz ‘scolded’ by Senate for promoting falsely advertised diet products

Dr. Oz

Dr. Mehmet Oz is an interesting character. I don’t watch his Dr. Oz show all the time, but it’s usually playing at the gym. When USA network isn’t playing reruns of my beloved Chris Meloni (his undercover episodes are the best), Dr. Oz helps me sweat it out. He’s such an enthusiastic guy, and I always giggle at the ladies who burst onto his stage and say stuff like, “Dr. Oz, I love you so much. And I always look at my poop.”

Dr. Oz’s audience follows him much like Oprah’s audience did for her. He’s always promoting some product like red palm oil, brown seaweed, or green coffee extract as a sure-fire weight loss cure. NBC compiled a list of Oz quotes. Stuff like raspberry ketone being “the number one miracle in a bottle to burn your fat” or Garcina cambogia as “the simple solution you’ve been looking for to bust your body fat for good.” Of course people buy this stuff. Buying a solution in a bottle is so much easier than counting calories or working it at the gym.

The US Senate has taken an interest in Oz’s claims. He has been duly “scolded” for the Dr. Oz Effect, which helps boost sales for scam artists that create infomercials based upon Oz quotes. The really bad thing is that most of Oz’s claims are not backed by any type of scientific study. He claims to use the stuff himself or give it to friends and family. That’s all. Oz has owned up to his accountability:

He’s learned his lesson. Dr. Mehmet Oz owned up to his mistakes after being scolded Tuesday, June 17, by members of the U.S. Senate. Though he was chastised, Oz told Us Weekly in a statement that he was “pleased that the hearing today [about falsely advertised diet products] dealt with some complicated issues.”

The TV show host, 54, also expressed his relief that the session on Capitol Hill “had all the players present whose cooperation will be necessary to move forward in protecting the consumer.” Oz was called to the Hill on Tuesday, for making claims about “miracle” weight-loss products on his popular Dr. Oz Show.

“For years I felt that because I did not sell any products,” admitted Oz, “I could be enthusiastic in my coverage.” Added the cardiothoracic surgeon, “I believe the research surrounding the products I cover has value. I took part in today’s hearing because I am accountable for my role in the proliferation of these scams and I recognize that my enthusiastic language has made the problem worse at times.”

Oz was called out specifically by Sen. Claire McCaskill, the Democratic chair of the Senate’s subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance, who said Oz was sensationalizing diet products on his show. “I don’t get why you need to say this stuff, because you know it’s not true,” McCaskill said to Oz in the hearing. “So why, when you have this amazing megaphone,” she asked him, “why would you cheapen your show by saying things like that?”

Further admitting his failings as bearer of the “Dr. Oz effect,” Oz told Us: “To not have the conversation about supplements at all however would be a disservice to the viewer. In addition to exercising an abundance of caution in discussing promising research and products in the future, I look forward to working with all those present today in finding a way to deal with the problems of weight loss scams.”

[From Us Weekly]

At least Oz has admitted his responsibility on this issue. I don’t know if this incident will change his show because (unpaid) product promotion makes up so much of his airtime. He’s stuck in a niche, and his audience expects him to stand there in his cute little scrub outfit and tell them the latest miracle cure. He may have to revamp his entire show at great expense. That option seems much better than promoting products that are not only useless but could be very dangerous to his audience.


Photos courtesy of WENN

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118 Responses to “Dr. Oz ‘scolded’ by Senate for promoting falsely advertised diet products”

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  1. Birdix says:

    I’ve never seen his show (but have seen lots of spam about raspberry ketones!). He gets nothing from these companies but a way to fill airtime? No kickbacks?

    • Size Does Matter says:

      He must get something, right? Why risk his reputation over nothing?

      • renniej says:

        My thoughts exactly! I think he gets something off the (more or less) worthless herbs and pseudo-science that he shills.

        You know, it would be so easy given the power Oz has developed related to these sort of products, to invest in something like tons of green coffee beans knowing that a week later Oz will be telling the world its a miracle cure and therefore the price of that green coffee will sky rocket. It’s kind of like a form of “insider trading” — we all know it exists but its very difficult to track and prove. I suspect the same sort of thing here. I don’t buy that this respected cardiologist suddenly threw all his years of science and studying under the bus, and started to believe in “hunches” about raspberry ketones and green coffee. That sort of junk has nothing to do with a doctor’s training.

  2. Abbott says:

    I rarely get to say this but, good for the Senate!

    I’m off to spin class in my garden shift dress! Meet y’all at the juice bar!

  3. aims says:

    I stopped watching him and Dr.Phil because the last ten minutes always felt like a promo for what they were selling. I don’t want your book, pills, apps ext. I want to watch a show about how in-laws can’t stand each other, and don’t rush them off stage to hawk whatever crap your selling either.

    • JudyK says:

      The constant SELF-PROMOTION with Dr. Phil selling himself, selling his book(s), selling his son’s publishing company, selling his wife, selling his and his son’s new app, etc., is when I switch the channel. Also, if I hear him say, “When we come back, I’m going to put verbs in my sentences,” or “This isn’t my first rodeo,” or “I’m a mandated reporter,” etc., etc., one more time, I’ll shoot the t.v. or myself, not sure which. He needs some new schtick.

      Anyway, “Aims”…good points and well said.

      • aims says:

        Exactly Judy!

      • BReed says:

        Totally agree: both shows morphed into infomercials which grates. Especially Dr. Phil. Everybody in that family is selling something: books, skincare (REALLY?) and other crap. Haven’t watched Phil or Oz in a long time and don’t plan to.

  4. LadyMTL says:

    It’s about freaking time! I seriously can’t even watch his show anymore because every other segment is about “busting my belly fat” or some new herb or pill that will cure all of my ills. It’s a shame because he is (was?) a respected cardiologist but now all he does is spew the same old garbage. Maybe if he hadn’t started talking like a shill he wouldn’t have to worry about companies using his name and image?

    Honestly, if I listened to him I’d be eating nothing but herbal supplements and seeds. I know it’s all about ratings but I’d be ashamed, if I were in his shoes.

    • Shazz says:

      I think he’s a jerk for helping scammers, and I doubt that he didn’t have any financial gain from it. He should be fined.

  5. GiGi says:

    One of the biggest wastes, in my opinion are these completely pointless Senate and Congressional hearings. They’re often for representative’s personal pet peeves and I just find them an embarrassment.

    • badrockandroll says:

      Oh, I’m in a bratty mood … but I do think that there is room for a healthy, respectful debate here, especially IF Dr. Oz is endorsement-free.

      So here it is ….

      Big pharmaceutical companies pay big bucks to ensure that their interests are protected by governments all over the world. It is in their interests that there are never any scientific studies on botanicals, herbs etc. because those things cannot be patented. They do not want competition, and they do want persons like Dr Oz to appear like charlatans. Discuss.

      • GiGi says:

        ITA… sorry!

      • Ag says:

        pharmaceutical companies have their problems, no doubt about that. but demonizing “big pharma” is unnecessary and it obfuscates the actual issues(with “big pharma” and with quacks like dr. oz. it’s the supplement companies who fight efficacy studies and consumer transparency – if it was shown what their products do (and don’t do) versus what they promised their customers, they would not be able to able to make as much money as they do. in 2011, “big supp” (named so aptly by science-based medicine) raked in 30 billion dollars in profits. 30-freaking-billion. now, who wouldn’t want a piece of that, be it “big pharma” or “big supp”? one of the problems here is that pharmaceuticals have to, you know, be actually tested and proven to work for what they say they work. dietary supplements don’t have to prove to do crap – and that’s what people who shill them rely on.



        not to mention, you are NOT getting what you think you are getting in your supplements.

      • Ag says:

        ps. and, of course herbal mixtures/supplements could be patented.

      • tessy says:

        I agree. That old bag gets megabucks in campaign contributions from the places like Monsanto and big pharma. Why don’t they investigate all the sickness and deaths caused by side effects of the pills that get pushed by doctors and the drug companies, many absolutely unnecessary and downright dangerous. Statins for one. But no, they go after health products that don’t kill people and may even do some good, because that’s what their big donors want in order to keep the money rolling in.

      • Jules says:

        Excellent Ag. Oz is a snake oil salesman. He should be ashamed.

      • Ag says:

        the premise that big pharma is not interested in developing cures for cancer (and other diseases) is, well, pretty much a conspiracy theory. which, like many conspiracy theories, has the premise that the medical/scientific establishment is a monolithic entity and capable of keeping cures for diseases hushed-up for the sake of something (selling chemotherapy drugs?). “The notion of “a cure for cancer” is also highly improbable. Cancer is not a single disease, but a category of disease with a great deal of variation. That is why there are numerous treatments for cancer, and treatments need to be specifically tailored to the cancer type, stage, and location, as well as the individual patient.”

        “Cancer is a complex set of diseases that defy sincere attempts at a cure. Those who promote the notion of the hidden cure often simultaneously promote wacky pseudoscientific treatments that they claim work[.]”

        here is an interesting article (a book review) on what could be done to fix problems with pharmaceutical companies:

        this is a fun little thing:

    • I think the debate about Big Pharma and what is going on with Dr. Oz – specifically weight loss – are actually two separate…related, but separate issues. With Big Pharma (and even supplements to a degree), there are compounds that are effective, but the whole point is not to need them in the first place. Especially when talking about weight loss, there is no secret compound. Sheesh. We woldnt have upwards of a 60% obesity rate if there were really a cure in a pill. The bigger picture, for me, is that there is simply no money in healthy people, and the only way to get there is through eating right and exercise. Oz should really be embarrassed for getting sucked into the supplement vortex. In moderation, fine, but come on.

      • Also, I have a hard time believing that he is not being paid. I’m guessing that we just can’t find the money trail. There will be something.

      • mayamae says:

        I personally believe we will never develop cures for chronic diseases – arthritis, diabetes, etc. – because they are the bread and butter of Big Pharma. If the US would ever get it’s head out of it’s ass and start negotiating drug prices, Big Pharma will be forced into change. Americans pays outrageous prices for the same drugs than the rest of the world, and we also absorb their advertising fees.

        Lastly, doctors contribute to this problem. They push the newest and most expensive meds because the drug reps push those the hardest, and provide the free samples. So as a patient you may get one month of product free, but pay three times more to fill your prescription.

      • Izzy says:

        I said this below, but I’ll say it again, because I’ve got my tinfoil hat on right now (LOL): if one of these product’s manufacturers buys advertising airtime or adspace on the network website, etc., there’s the money trail right there. The network profits, and as long as they’re making money, he’ll continue to have a show and make money.

      • woodstockschulz says:

        @mayamae – I agree with you completely. There was a story on one of those news magazine shows (I forget which one it was) where they were saying that big pharma are interested only in developing drugs for chronic diseases – i.e. heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, etc because those are meds you will take for the rest of your life. That’s where the money is.

        They have no interest in developing new antibiotics (for example) because you only take them for a short time, that’s why there haven’t been new antibiotics developed since the 1960’s.

      • sienna says:

        Never forget that pharma is first and foremost is a business. It can cost from approx $950 million to $6 billion dollars to bring a drug to market. And then they only have an exclusive patent for 20 years to recoup all that money. Never mind the number of drugs that may get to even phase 3 trials and never make it to market.

        My pet peeve is when my Doc writes an Rx for a brand name drug and my pharmacist subs me out a generic. They are not the same.

      • mayamae says:

        @woodstockschulz, antibiotics are a far more complicated matter. I watched a segment (I think on 60 Minutes) on this problem a few years back. The problem with antibiotics is the over prescribing and the over use for the past four decades. At the time of the special, there had not been a new antibiotic on the market for several years. The problem was that they would discover resistance to the testing antiobiotic before the trials were even completed. Antibiotics are therefore becoming big money losers due to resistance, and the fact that they are taken for very short periods of time.

        I blame doctors and patients equally for the over use of antibiotics. Doctors are massive whimps when challenged by a demanding parent to give their child an antibiotic for a cold.

      • Kiddo says:

        @mayamae, A good dose of fault should be leveled at the food industry.

    • Lady says:


    • bloopuy says:

      As someone who has almost been killed a couple of times by the medical industry and whose “supposedly” chronic illness never got any better until I went to natural remedies and a more holistic outlook on life and health, I disagree AG. There are many people like me WHO HAVE ACTUAL EXPERIENCES that just don’t get well with the pills shoved down our throats and are turning to other avenues because they actually work, and many other people on the internet who are communicating with each other and doing the same. Sorry. There are certain things our medical industry is good for, but us getting well is not really on their agenda. It’s not people who are just “conspiracy theorists” and distrust the medical industry for no reason, we are REAL people who are really GETTING WELL using OTHER methods..

      Big Pharma and the medical industry are going to have A LOT to answer for in the future when they finally crumble down and the truth comes out. Not everything is a conspiracy theory. (And frankly, not all conspiracy theories are false, either, many of them have been proven true years later.) Psychological denial doesn’t help anyone, just because it scares people that these industries don’t have our best interests at heart and they don’t know how to deal with it, isn’t a reason to label it a conspiracy theory and dismiss it.

  6. Macey says:

    Kudos to that Senator for calling him out. I used to LOVE Dr. Oz but then he became nothing more than a product shiller and I lost interest in pretty much everything he has to say. Before that tho I was one of those that went and started researching everything he was saying or promoting. Luckily I never really spent any money on anything b/c pretty much everything was promoted with the key words “use this along with clean diet and reg. exercise” when really its the diet/ex. that will help you lose weight..not any product and I dont care who is selling it.

  7. Marty says:

    I mean I’ve never heard him promote a specific brand, just a bunch of different products. So who know? I think he does give a lot of good information in general.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      I think their issue is with the flowery language he uses like “magic pill” or “miracle cure”.

      He’s in a tricky position because as a talk show host, he has to create a “hook” to grab the audience’s attention, but as a medical professional, he REALLY shouldn’t be using the words “miracle” or “magic” to describe anything, particularly things that aren’t FDA-approved to treat the maladies that they purport to treat.

      • Bridget says:

        I’d actually like to take this a bit further. It amazes me that as a medical professional Oz would blow his load like this over the various miracle compounds out there. The supplement industry doesn’t have nearly the same regulations as pharmaceuticals, and they can make a great deal of claims without the science to back it up. He’s behaving like your neighborhood Advocare salesperson, who can’t wait to tell you about their next miracle weight loss short cut. It’s extremely unprofessional.

      • Lucinda says:

        Especially since he is advertising himself as a medical professional to bring people to the show in the first place. You can’t use that authority to draw in your audience and then claim it’s not your fault when that same authority influences people to purchase products you are promoting. He wants his cake and eat it too. And even if he isn’t making money directly from these products (which I don’t entirely believe), he IS making money from a show by discussing and endorsing the components of these products.

  8. MollyB says:

    The sad thing about this is that Dr. Oz is an incredibly gifted and well-respected cardiac surgeon. He’s really disrespected his profession with this pseudo-science and, frankly, made himself look like a carnival barker.

    • Jackson says:

      I hate to agree with this but I do. When he first came on the scene I really respected his opinions on things. Unfortunately his show has turned into the video version of Prevention Magazine. Anyone remember that one? So, so many supplements that are all the latest and greatest. I’d go bankrupt and make myself sick if I tried everything he says is the new best thing. I appreciate, and believe him, when he says that he doesn’t get money from any product. However, at some point, he needs to stop sounding like a shill and just present the facts on something and give a real opinion, not just ‘it probably won’t hurt you and it may work for you.’ Then maybe follow up a few months later with people who have tried whatever it is. His show needs to expand beyond the latest and greatest over-hyped supps. Not sure what he can keep filling up the hours with, though.

  9. Ag says:

    good. he’s a promoter of quackery and pseudo-science.

    • hmmm says:

      Agreed. So much for the Hippocratic oath.

      And what’s a heart surgeon doing doling out life style advice?

      The only difference between him and snake oil salesmen in the past is that his “Dr” moniker is real. Which makes it even more of a crying shame. He, on the other hand, is crying all the way to the bank.

      • mayamae says:

        The Hippocratic Oath jumped the shark a long time ago. I just found out that pediatricians are piercing babies’ ears. What’s next? A special – vaccinations and baby’s first tattoo combo.

      • hmmm says:

        I can’t disagree with you, mayamae.

  10. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    He’s a total fraud, and I don’t believe for one minute that he hasn’t gained something from the promotion of worthless products.

    • Ag says:

      Plus eleventy billion.

    • Esti says:

      I’m with you.

    • Kiddo says:

      So on board with you guys.

      • mimif says:

        On the good ship Lollipop
        It’s a sweet trip to the candy shop
        Where bons bons play
        On the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay…

        What…you don’t like Shirley Temple?
        *applies flame retardant*

      • Kiddo says:

        Seriously, how are those plants going to get watered when the farmer is soused so early in the day?

        Is this the writing that Franco has been teaching you? TSk Tsk!

    • Izzy says:

      If the makers of any of those products bought advertising time on his show, or on the network’s website… well, there’s the revenue stream. Follow the money, right?

    • Paul says:

      I agree. Can’t stand this that lol I don’t watch talk shows they are a waste of time.

  11. sonalaceae (Nighty) says:

    Unfortunately his show was much better before all these ads on products to lose weight… To lose weight (except for some health conditions) has to do with what one eats and working out… Not about taking pills of some “miracle product”…

  12. cr says:

    “The Dr. Oz Show” frequently focusses on essential health issues: the proper ways to eat, relax, exercise, and sleep, and how to maintain a healthy heart. Much of the advice Oz offers is sensible, and is rooted solidly in scientific literature. That is why the rest of what he does is so hard to understand. Oz is an experienced surgeon, yet almost daily he employs words that serious scientists shun, like “startling,” “breakthrough,” “radical,” “revolutionary,” and “miracle.” There are miracle drinks and miracle meal plans and miracles to stop aging and miracles to fight fat. Last year, Oz broadcast a show on whether it was possible to “repair” gay people (“From Gay to Straight? The Controversial Therapy”), despite the fact that Robert L. Spitzer, the doctor who is best known for a study of gay-reparation therapy, had recanted. (Spitzer last year apologized to “any gay person who wasted time and energy” on what he conceded were “unproven claims.”) …

    I want to stress that Mehmet is a fine surgeon,” Rose said, as he did more than once during our conversation. “He is intellectually unbelievably gifted. But I think if there is any criticism you can apply to some of the stuff he talks about it is that there is no hierarchy of evidence. There rarely is with the alternatives. They have acquired a market, and that drives so much. At times, I think Mehmet does feed into that.”

    I asked if he would place his confidence in a heart surgeon, no matter how gifted, who operated just once a week, as Oz does. “Well,” he replied, “in general you want a surgeon who lives and breathes his job, somebody who is above all devoted to that.” Again he mentioned Oz’s experience, but when I asked if he would send a patient to Oz for an operation, he looked uncomfortable. “No,” he said. “I wouldn’t. In many respects, Mehmet is now an entertainer. And he’s great at it. People learn a lot, and it can be meaningful in their lives. But that is a different job. In medicine, your baseline need has to be for a level of evidence that can lead to your conclusions. I don’t know how else you do it. Sometimes Mehmet will entertain wacky ideas—particularly if they are wacky and have entertainment value.”


    • Rhiley says:

      Whoops cr, I just saw this before submitting my comment. Sorry.

    • PennyLane says:

      Same thing with Sanjay Gupta – he is a neurosurgeon who only does surgery twice a month. I would never let someone I care about get operated upon by him!

  13. feebee says:

    This is the unfortunate result of what happens when you take a well-meaning, informed, entertaining and likable guest expert and give them their own show. There is only so much they can say in the field of expertise before they start branching out into unrelated stuff or they get wrapped up in this sort of thing – pandering to their audience.

    I haven’t seen much of him but it sounds like he got carried away with the ever popular – esp with his audience – weight loss issue and the quick fixes or a least “boosters”. As an MD though he should know better from the scientific point of view and from the entertainment side of things, he shouldn’t have been so naive. However, looks like he’s been set straight even if it had to come via a slightly sketchy way. I think he was a little set up by the Congressional committee. They got a high profile name they could publicly scold. If they were really interested in doing something they’d regulate the diet supplement industry instead of hiding behind the “but it’s food” BS. It’s not “food”, though neither are GMO’s and a whole lot of stuff in our “food”. But Dr Oz is a much easier mark.

  14. RobN says:

    Not sure what people expected of a guy who wears scrubs on tv for no apparent reason.

  15. Rhiley says:

    There was a great piece in the New Yorker about him last year I think. The article pretty much ended when one of his colleagues at what ever hospital he works in asked, “Would you go to a heart surgeon who only operates on patients about once a week?” It is certainly more scary he is in an operating room still rather than shelling snake oil for millions. The Oprahfication of Doctor Oz has made him a bit of a fraud, but it didn’t need to be this way. What is wrong with being a successful New York heart surgeon who may have the occasional book and make appearances here and there on network television while keeping his practice his main focus. Nothing at all. I think his wife is responsible for a lot of this mess, though. She seems to be a controlling nut job and likely pushed him to move out of the operating room and more onto vitamin bottles and juice cartons.

    • Ayre says:

      Yeah, I read that piece too. It was such a thorough, but gentle, condemnation.

      This guy is a quack, a carnival barker, and a snake oil promoter. One of the many reasons American pop culture is becoming anti-intellectual. He is like a freaking punchline to some horrible joke about our healthcare system.

      (fun fact: I bumped into his daughter Daphne at the Columbus Circle Whole Foods in NY. she had very pretty hair and a very big look-at-me attitude. i was like, girl i am just trying to buy some kombucha. chill out.)

  16. HappyDance says:

    I don’t watch Dr. Oz very often but some of the stuff he says is actually pretty helpful. My Dr. Oz story: my dad gets VERY little sleep a night. At most three to four hours. He watched an episode of Dr. Oz where Dr. Oz recommended Tart Cherry Juice for sleeping. BAM! My dad was screaming for us to find him some. The first night he drank the juice he had the best sleep he’s had in ten years. When he drinks the juice he gets 6+ hours of sleep which is a big difference from before. Now I don’t know about Dr. Oz’s scientific studies in the products he recommends but I do feel like a lot of it is simple stuff the public might not be aware of. Basically, tart cherry juice is high in melatonin, melatonin helps with sleep, thus a natural sleep aid is cherry juice. IDK about all of his claims but I do feel like most of the things he recommends are just that, recommendations for things that MAY help in some slight ways. I mean I definitely prefer him to the Dr.s who are always pushing some new plastic surgery fad.

    • Julie says:

      I like him. I think he’s trying to help people. Everyone makes mistakes.

    • Izzy says:

      And I agree that there are a lot of worthwhile things out there that people can try, that are not pharmaceutical, but natural instead. Here’s the thing: some of them have interactions, and some of them are dangerous in high doses. So you need to have someone who’s well-trained in pharmacognosy to help you with that. Good luck finding someone like that at GNC. I personally go to a local boutique apothecary for any of those needs (like elderberry syrup).

      And THIS is what really ticks me off: people TRUST someone with the letters MD after their name. And someone like Dr. Oz knows that, particularly after his brand has been built by Oprah. He’s traded off of that, and all the while used “flowery language” to push products that are VERY new, that even the mainstream medical community hasn’t had a chance to observe in their patient populations, and without any discussion of how they might interact with other medications those people are on.

  17. littlestar says:

    Good, I’m glad. I’ve been saying for years that he is a snake oil salesman.

  18. dasarih says:

    It’s about time.

  19. Tiffany says:

    How can you devote so much time, money and commitment to becoming a MD and have your legacy become a joke.

  20. byandby says:

    Very OT, shallow, and snarky, but 54?? I would have thought he was nearly 70.

    • JudyK says:

      Me too…and I suspect he’s an Alien. (Of course, that’s just based on the way he looks.) 🙂

  21. Irishserra says:

    I only ever saw his show a couple of times, but I can see why people might have followed him like the piper. He’s so charismatic. He wrote a book several years back with another doctor that explained the way hormones work in a way that I actually understood, and for that I was so grateful. I can’t remember the name of the book because I loaned it out and never got it back. Darn. I wasn’t aware that he was shilling worthless products, so I’m glad for the senate’s putting their foot down with that. I hope he complies. I can’t help but like him a little.

  22. Izzy says:

    I’m going to weigh in with a lengthy post here, because I have an opinion that I would like heard on this. My parents founded, and I help run, a nonprofit that deals with an orphan lung disease which acts a lot like TB but is not communicable the same way. It does, however, have the same destructive effects, and I’ve been watching my stepmom die slowly from it for 18 years. Ten years ago there was little to no information available on the internet and almost no research being funded. That has changed in large part because of people like my parents, and others who have stepped up to help them advocate. I just help run things behind the scenes.

    This disease requires multiple antibiotics for a minimum of 18 months. PERIOD. There are no alternatives. Anyone we know who has gone the strictly alternative route has died from this, much faster. In terms of treatments, it boils down to the best of bad options.

    We regularly get maligned by a small handful of people who claim that this alternative remedy or that one will work, but none have been tested. We have a few who have come after us for not explicitly endorsing their fervent belief in inhaled colloidal silver particles. Here’s the thing: these are patients who already have trouble clearing their lungs, and now they’re going to inhale silver particles. There’s no science, no study behind it, and we have no idea how much damage that silver is doing to those lungs. How do you conduct such a clinical trial? How do you ask a patient to roll the dice like that?

    The issue of big pharma vs alternative medicine are so much more nuanced than most people want to believe. We have actually chosen, as an organization, to use the term “complementary medicine,” because we believe that despite a dearth of clear scientific evidence, there are some things that can actually make a difference, when used responsibly and under the supervision of a competent physician who understands how these supplements can interact with and affect antibiotic effectiveness. And as researchers have come to us with suggestions on how to structure studies on such supplements, we have quietly built a file on it, so that when we are ready to publish a paper on the aggressive research agenda needed for this disease, sometime in the next year, this topic will be a part of the discussion.

    It’s worth noting that the disease I’m talking about is much more prevalent in the U.S. than TB. Yet we and our patients who have written in by the dozens asking to do just one segment to help educate the public on a health threat that is growing here to the tune of almost 10% per year, have consistently been ignored by Dr. Oz’s show. I guess he was too busy shilling for garcinia cambogia.

    /rant (and sorry, it’s been a rough week)

    • Mayamae says:

      Izzy, you wrote such a good long post but didn’t name the disease. Is it nontuberculosis mycobacterium?

      • Izzy says:

        Yes, it is! I’m impressed you’ve even heard of it. So many haven’t.

      • mayamae says:

        I’m a nurse, but have never had a patient with this disease.

      • Izzy says:

        Listen, if you’ve heard of it, then you could probably spot the symptoms in a patient. That puts you way ahead of other healthcare professionals I’ve met, and gives me a little ray of hope. Thanks for making my day brighter!

    • Macey says:

      that is an interesting post.
      My dad was a major advocate for colloidal silver but only as an anti-biotic. we all use for scraps and cuts etc., usually as a topical thing but he drank it too.
      I have too at times and it did work on clearing up another infection I had but I dont think Ive ever heard of inhaling it. I can honestly say it works wonders for bacterial type infections but I don’t know about lung conditions. I do think it can help in many ways but it will always be one of those things you almost have to take a chance and try yourself b/c it will never be a part of the big pharma industry. Luckily you can get it at any health food store. I know most in my family keep a bottle on hand and it has saved us many trips to the Dr. for minor things.

      • Izzy says:

        There’s no question that silver has antimicrobial properties, and as a topical antibiotic it can be very effective; in fact, I’ve used antibiotic ointment with colloidal silver particles in it. That’s fairly low-risk. There may be other practical applications to prevent exposure that are worth studying. Wouldn’t it be great if people like Dr. Oz talked about that, and maybe got the scientific community off its butt to take a closer look at it?

        Ingesting it can be risky, because there’s little known about the full effects on organs, but we do know people can turn blue (see the blue man, he’s famous). Inhalation is completely unstudied, and like I said, when you’re talking about patients who already have lung issues which prevent them from clearing their lungs properly… it’s a huge risk. I keep having these visuals of people walking around with little silver nuggets in their lungs.

      • Macey says:

        interesting you say that about organs b/c when my dad died (heart attack)the coroner told us his organs were clean and clear including his lungs, which was kind of hard for us to believe b/c he was always a heavy smoker and also smoked pot regularly. He actually made his own CS with his own maker but he did not go over board tho like The Blue Man. Not sure if you know the details of him but he was drinking several quarts A DAY of his own for yrs and yrs before he turned blue. I think he was even using a different type of water than you’re supposed to too. Now that was extreme over-use IMO. My dad and other sites Ive read on it say no more than a swig or two a day and thats only if you are fighting an infection, some just do a tb a day for their immune. I know the stuff I buy says tsp and hold under tongue for 30 sec. I dont drink it unless I have something going on but I and others were always amazed at how fast it worked.

        I would love for more studies to be done on it just for thinks like these flesh eating bacteria that some are catching, I wonder if it works for that? Its my understanding that the silver prevents the bacteria from breathing which is how it kills the infection. Plus you dont become resistant to it like some pharma. antibiotics. But since you could make it yourself if you wanted I doubt they’ll ever even explore it.

      • Izzy says:

        Macey – I’m glad your father found it helpful. The patients I’m talking about are, believe it or not, more non-smokers, but have serious lung ailments in the COPD spectrum, which means they can’t clear mucus from their lungs properly in the first place and suffer lung damage as a result; putting something else into their lungs without knowing what kind of effect it could have on the lung tissue is dangerous for them. But yeah, I figured your dad didn’t go overboard, since you indicated he used it medicinally and didn’t go overboard.

    • KIddo says:

      Izzy, maybe you should get in touch with someone @ Frontline. They do excellent documentaries on PBS, and eventually the mainstream media reports on it.

  23. MrsBPitt says:

    I have some friends that will try any goofy thing this quack says to lose weight. They have tried it all and haven’t lost a pound and the STILL think this guy is legit!

    • Izzy says:

      I’ve tried plenty of things over the years. So far, the only thing that has worked long-term is good, old-fashioned exercise and better eating habits. I won’t say I never eat things that aren’t the healthiest, but those times are few and far between now.

    • Plus a gazillion Izzy. When people I meet professionally (nurse practitioner here) say they’re tried everything and not lost weight, I ask them to tell me honestly how much they have exercised and what they have eaten for the last 24 hours. Even when they aren’t being fully honest, it usually paints a pretty good picture.

      • anon33 says:

        I’ve commented on this before, but I will again: I work in disability law and review people’s medical records all day. I would say that at least 50% of the claimants that are obese stringetly insist that they “don’t eat that much” etc., then when you ask them what they eat, it’s all bad stuff. I literally had a claimant last week who ONLY ate fried chicken, fast food, corn dogs, and pop tarts, and drank Mountain Dew and whole milk all day, never drank water. She wondered why she had gastrointestinal issues and couldn’t lose weight…of course she refuses to exercise too, due to “pain complaints.”
        …I could go on for HOURS about this, but in essence, ITA with you guys.

      • Izzy says:

        I think the gastric surgery options have been helpful too, but they’re limited by whether they’re part of a more comprehensive program. Unless there’s a lot of followup to help change diet, people often end up gaining weight back again from what I’ve been told. I had looked into the option at one point, and when I realized that this was part of the process regardless, I figured, try it without surgery first. It is HARD to lose weight, and no pill or berry is going to make it happen magically.

    • cr says:

      Our nutritionists would have patients who come in with the latest Dr. Oz weight loss stuff and then we’d have to do lit searches showing there’s not any evidence for whatever he’s pushing (and some of these things have been researched for decades).
      It’s hard convincing some people that just because he’s charming and at one point was a good cardiothoracic surgeon, it doesn’t mean he really knows what he’s talking about.

  24. eliza says:

    I cannot stand this man. I have never watched but a few minutes of his show but the few times I have seen a couple minutes, the man is obsessed with fecal matter . All he talks about is the shape, size and color of it. Another thing is everything will kill you. His “Triangle of Death” when speaking about your face, if one nose hair is plucked you are going to die of infection. The man is a loon.

    • Izzy says:

      *snort* I didn’t know that about him. I flush, end of story, no need for close examination if I’m not sick with some kind of stomach bug, and then, if I’m that sick, they have LABS for that kind of stuff.

      Also, if plucking nose hairs was the harbinger of certain death, I’d be dead many times over. Maybe I’m lucky like a cat that way.

  25. JudyK says:

    I simply cannot stand the man…cannot stomach him at all. Cannot look at him, cannot listen to him jabber faster than the speed of sound, cannot abide his stupid Dr. Doom show.

    And if I can’t switch the channel quickly enough and see him holding hands with one more member of his lady audience, I am going to barf. How creepy and how condescending.

  26. qtpi says:

    Yes – love my mom to pieces but every time he says “you should be eating/drinking this every day” she tries to incorporate it. Seriously you could be eating and drinking non stop all day to get in everything that is recommended from flax seed to almonds to almond milk.. .the list goes on. I think she buys every bottle of stuff he recommends (supplement wise).

    I’ve also read on other boards that people have relatives who go off meds after they see something on his show without talking to their own doctor. Hopefully they can revamp the show.

  27. mkyarwood says:

    I work in a wellness store, where we offer services like massage therapy, aromatherapy, yoga and reflexology, along with nutritional assessments with a nutritionist who helps with inflammation and weight management etc. We sell fresh, locally grown produce, meat, dairy along with some basic supplements like vitamins sourced from whole foods. EVERY DAY we have a large number of people come in to look for ‘whatever Dr Oz was talking about yesterday’ who refuse to listen to any alternative ideas (such as a meal plan with locally grown produce/meat/dairy) or self care advice. All they want is a freaking pill. For us, Dr. Oz is an obnoxious rusty nail in the whole wellness picture of a ‘healthy house’. The only thing we will carry that he’s recommended is dandelion tea, and we’d been carrying that long before he decided it was worth his hawking.

  28. Grant says:

    You said it, Bedhead. It’s so much easier to buy a “miracle in a bottle” than it is to diet and exercise. And here’s a revolutionary idea: if you want raspberry ketones, why not just EAT MORE RASPBERRIES?!?!?!

  29. zut alors! says:

    About 2 years ago, I was on medical leave for about 8 weeks and was pretty much confined to my bed. Anyway, after a week of watching Dr Oz, I consigned him to the same circle of hell as Dr Phil. What did Oprah ever see in these two, especially Dr Phil?

  30. Msmlnp says:

    I have no opinion on Dr. oz either way. but this congressional hearing business is utter BS. It seems self righteous on Congresses part.

    It’s as if they want the public to be distracted by the flame of one persons opinion, while the forest fire of Monsanto, the FDA (don’t get me started on the corrupt food pyramid), and Big Pharma rages on.

  31. LS says:

    Now they need to investigate Dr. Phil. His advice is dangerous. When he isnt giving dangerous advice he is promoting something some he or someone else in his family is promoting

  32. Santolina says:

    Good for the Senate. I’m glad Oz is being contrite about it. The question will be how he can keep sponsors for his TV show if he doesn’t shill the products. Maybe he’ll just go into heavy “disclaimer” mode.

  33. Tippy says:

    Of all the things that the US Senate could be doing, “scolding Doctor Oz” should not be very high on that list.

    • melain says:

      ITA. Bunch of scalliwags! And the ridiculous mccaskill …as if she knows what is going on in Dr. Oz’s mind. She has no way to know what he does or doesn’t know or believe. The arrogance and ignorance of such a fascist statement. I’m not worried about guys like Oz, but I’m very concerned about Senators like her.

  34. Jaded says:

    If I took a quarter of all the supplements he touts or that get promoted in various “health” magazines (Prevention…I’m looking at you…) I’d have a whole fridge full of supplements and no appetite to eat real food. It’s naïve and preposterous for someone like Oz to constantly shill these miracle cures when the biggest part of maintaining good health is to eat a healthy diet, don’t smoke, and exercise 3-34 times a week.

  35. Adrien says:

    Not a fan of Oz but none of the beauty and weightloss stuff he promotes are dangerous. At worst, they are ineffective and costly (nah, most are actually super cheap). They’re supplements. They should be supplementary to your diet program and fitness plan. Problem with supplements is that they take months to work. Also, they are not standardized like drugs so so many stuff in the market have different dosages. None of them are new too. I’ve been reading about Acai berries and coffee bean extract years before Oz came into the limelight. The Japanese have been consuming ceramides and collagen for skincare for decades now. Not even sure why there’s a Senate hearing on this.

  36. Sabrine says:

    The only reason he’s “contrite” is because some people finally caught on to him. Otherwise he’d be doing this for eons to come in the name of cash and a lot of it going right into his pockets. He’s a clone of Kevin Trudeau, making a fortune off of gullible consumers, just another snake oil salesman.

  37. Montréalise says:

    I believe he is getting some type of kickback for all these products, simply because of this: celebrities are very, very quick to threaten or institute legal action whenever their name or image is used to promote a product without their authorization. So whenever the manufacturer of whatever product he is promoting on his show advertises it by saying that it’s “recommended by Dr. OZ” or “as seen on Dr. OZ” why would he not immediately have his lawyers send a cease and desist letter? He obviously isn’t doing that, since the manufacturers keep on doing it.

    • Jayna says:

      No, he’s not getting a kickback. His hype is used for promos for his next show and it brings in ratings, which brings in great advertisers. If his show has high ratings, he profits. That’s where his kickback is. And he skates by by saying he doesn’t “endorse” these products as far as receiving anything monetararily from them.

  38. corn on the cob says:

    I agree with Sen McCaskill. I sometimes watch his show and he goes on and on how some product can reduce fat etc. when there is little research to support his claims. I think he touts products way to exuberantly. Glad Congress gave him a small tongue lashing.

  39. Dirty Martini says:

    The dude is all about the money. Face it. Know for a fact that it costs $100,000 to get him to give a speech at your company. And no breaks for non profit, faith based health care organizations either. But hey–if you balk at the expense — his people will offer you MRS. Dr. Oz for a measly $25,000.

  40. TOPgirl says:

    Why scold him? Seriously, he brought alot of attention to the medical field, educated the public about their own health and body, made it normal to pay attention to these important things and in the end, they scold him. Such crap! No one else would do this job as well as him.

  41. Godwina says:

    World’s smallest violin for this guy this week. He can insulate himself from the hate with his walls of quack cash. Go Senate.

  42. Salsgal says:

    I’m so mad. Dr Oz does nothing but provide very useful information. He does not profit from it at all. This is another example of politicians grandstanding on an issue to gain some damn attention for themselves. This instead of focusing on solving some of the grave problems this country faces. There are NO JOBs for youth and people over 50!!!!

    • Sarah says:

      The government regulates a number of different areas. Roadways, bridges & infrastructure. Education. Economic & employment issues. Defense. Environmental Protection. AND the Federal Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control. There are laws in place about making false claims regarding medical treatments. If the government has traced Oz’s advice as having a large national impact on requests for scam treatments and unproven, anecdotally-based miracle “pills” for weight loss to the point where they are calling it the Dr. Oz effect, it’s very much their business.

      Next time you want the government to focus on a single issue, remind yourself that we have many Congressional committees to investigate and oversee a wide variety of issues. There is also a Secretary of Labor department within the White House who oversees the jobs market.

      You don’t shut down funding research for disease treatment to focus all government officials on the job market. That would be disasterous. Those issues aren’t really in competition.

  43. Jayna says:

    Every show is some newest and greatest supplement to melt weight and fat off. He will push any bogus weight loss claim for ratings and hype to draw the viewer in. He has become such a disappointment as someone within the medical profession. He does profit because he uses it for ratings.

  44. Evi says:

    Every bit of content on his show is about selling something rubbish, based on pseudo science. I stopped watching after the first few shows. He is a disappointment.