Dr. Oz runs afoul of lawmakers
Exuberant TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz was put on the defensive Tuesday before the Senate Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance subcommittee as lawmakers asked the physician to explain how he could describe supplements like raspberry ketones and saffron extract as miracle weight-loss solutions when there is no proof to support such claims.
Columbia University's chairman and professor of surgery was not the only focus of the hearing which was convened to discuss “Protecting Consumers from False and Deceptive Advertising of Weight-Loss Products, but he was definitely a bold-faced name among the list of speakers, which included the Federal Trade Commission's associate director, Division of Advertising Practices, Bureau of Consumer Protection Mary Koelbel Engle and the Council for Responsible Nutrition's president and CEO Steven Mister.
“Why would you say something is a miracle in a bottle?” subcommittee chair and Missouri Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill asked Oz, reports Politico which says the Show-Me-State lawmaker added “I'm concerned that you are melding medical advice, news and entertainment in a way that harms consumers.”
Oz told the committee that “I have never sold supplements . . . my job on the show is to be a cheerleader for the audience.”
Forbes reports Oz said he knows the items he touts “oftentimes they don't have scientific muster to present as fact. Nevertheless I would give my audience the same advice I give my family, and I have given my family these products.”
Oz told the committee that simply telling viewers to focus on diet and exercise would do little to alter current weight trends “so we search for tools and crutches for short-term support so people can jump-start their programs.”
The Hill notes Oz also told lawmakers “When I can't use language that is flowery, that is exulting, I feel like I've been disenfranchised.”
The doctor is associated with what Forbes said is a documented “Oz effect,” which is that product sales spike soon after he touts items on his show.