Medical claims on The Dr. Oz Show

The Dr. Oz Show is an American daytime television syndicated talk series that aired between September 14, 2009, and January 14, 2022. The host of the show is Dr. Mehmet Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon who developed an affinity for alternative medicine.[1] Throughout its run, various episodes and segment features have been vastly criticized for a lack of scientific credibility about the medical claims on the show. A study by the British Medical Journal in 2014 concluded that less than half the claims made on The Dr. Oz Show were backed by "some" evidence, and that fell to a third when the threshold was raised to "believable" evidence.[2] The website Science-Based Medicine goes even further, claiming: "No other show on television can top The Dr. Oz Show for the sheer magnitude of bad health advice it consistently offers, all while giving everything a veneer of credibility."[3] What follows is a selection of claims lacking scientific evidence.

Vaccines edit

On January 4, 2010, Oz endorsed spacing out childhood vaccines, a common anti-vaccine trope based on the false premise that the immune systems of children are incapable of responding to multiple vaccines at once, and said that his children had not been vaccinated against H1N1. He also expressed suggestions that MMR vaccination may be linked to autism, infamously based on a fraudulent paper by Andrew Wakefield. However, in 2019, Oz endorsed MMR vaccination and encouraged his viewers to vaccinate themselves and their children against mumps, measles, and rubella.[4]

Arsenic in apple juice edit

In September 2011, Oz drew criticism for an episode on the alleged dangers of arsenic in apple juice. Oz hired an independent toxicology laboratory, EMSL, and found arsenic levels in some samples to be above the limit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows in drinking water. The FDA said "there is currently no evidence to suggest a public health risk", and criticized the emphasis on measurements of total arsenic without distinguishing between harmless organic arsenic compounds and toxic inorganic arsenic compounds that pose differing levels of health risk.[5][6][7]

Consumer Reports conducted similar tests on samples of apple and grape juices around the same time. Unlike the tests done by Oz, Consumer Reports tested for both organic and inorganic types of arsenic. Results showed that 6% (5 out of 80) of the samples tested by Consumer Reports exceeded the 10-parts-per-billion (ppb) federal limit for arsenic in drinking water. When counting only inorganic arsenic, one of the 80 apple juice samples tested slightly exceeded 10-parts-per-billion limit, at 10.48 ppb.[8][9] The limits only apply to arsenic levels for drinking water; there are no legal limits for arsenic in fruit juices. After the episode aired, the FDA indicated it is continuing to research the levels of arsenic in fruit juices and other foods, and may implement limits for fruit juices in the future.[10]

Conversion therapy edit

An episode in November 2012 discussed conversion therapy (under a different term, 'reparative therapy')[11] and "forms of therapy that are designed to turn a gay person straight."[12] This therapy has been rejected by the mainstream mental health professions.[13] The broadcast featured Julie Hamilton, a representative of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH, now known as the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity), which offers conversion therapy, and also had guests who condemned it.[14] Three of the groups who were consulted for the show — GLAAD, GLSEN, and PFLAG — issued a joint press release repudiating the episode just after it aired. The press release, calling NARTH "a splinter group of anti-gay therapists/activists", criticized the episode for starting with two segments of the show featuring proponents of conversion therapy without challenge, then introducing the NARTH representative as an "expert", and providing no opinion by Dr. Oz on the subject, which the press release authors characterized as causing the audience to be "misled to believe that there are actual experts on both sides of this issue". The press release also stated that "GLSEN would not have participated in The Dr. Oz Show had we known that NARTH would be represented".[14]

Oz responded in a blog post, mentioning the opposition of respected medical organizations to the practice of conversion therapy, and saying that "if we want to reach everyone who might benefit from understanding the risks of this therapy, you have to present multiple perspectives." He also said that he agreed "with the established medical consensus", that he had "not found enough published data supporting positive results with gay reparative therapy", and that he was concerned about "potentially dangerous effects when the therapy fails". Oz also pointed out that "the guests who appeared on my show on either side of this debate agreed that entering into any therapy with guilt and self-hate is a major error."[12]

2014 Senate hearing edit

During a Senate hearing on consumer protection, Senator Claire McCaskill stated that by airing segments on weight loss products that are later cited in advertisements, Oz plays a role, intentional or not, in perpetuating these scams, and that she is "concerned that you are melding medical advice, news, and entertainment in a way that harms consumers."[15] Mary Engle of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) criticized Oz for calling green coffee extract "magic" and a "miracle", stating that it is difficult for consumers to listen to their inner voices when products are praised by hosts they trust.[15]

One of the products Oz was promoting, green coffee bean extract, was found to have absolutely no weight loss benefits. Two of the researchers who were paid to write the study admitted that they could not back their data so they retracted their paper. The FTC filed a complaint that the Texas-based company Applied Food Sciences (the promoters of the study) had falsely advertised. The FTC alleged that the study was "so hopelessly flawed that no reliable conclusions could be drawn from it" so Applied Food Sciences agreed to pay a $3.5 million settlement.[16][17]

Donald Trump appearance edit

In September 2016, during his presidential campaign, Donald Trump appeared on The Dr. Oz Show.[18] In the days leading up to the appearance, Trump had come under fire in the media for a refusal to publicly share the results of a recent physical health examination he had undergone. In the lead-up to the show's taping, Oz promoted Trump's appearance with a guarantee to obtain and ostensibly broadcast the exam's results, although the host declared that he would not ask Trump questions the then-Republican nominee did not wish to answer.[19]

The taping remained closed to the press. Oz reportedly read the results off of a sheet of paper Trump himself handed to the host.[20] NBC journalist Katy Tur reported that a source in the studio claimed that Oz remarked positively regarding Trump's health report, saying he "would be happy if any of his patients had similar results."[21] The one-page summary that Trump released to Oz reflected a health report generated by Trump's physician Harold Bornstein in 2015. Bornstein's note was widely criticized for its "unusual, brief" tone.[22]

Reports on Trump's weight conflicted: Oz declared Trump "slightly overweight" at 236 pounds; earlier reports reported Trump's weight at 267 pounds.[22]

Several news outlets speculated that Trump's appearance aimed to appeal to The Dr. Oz Show's large female viewership.[22][23][24] The episode coincided with the media fallout that occurred after the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton took a brief hiatus from the campaign trail after falling ill with pneumonia.[20]

Forbes contributor Bruce Japsen criticized Trump's appearance given that Oz is not Trump's doctor. Japsen further pointed out the American Medical Association's ethics directives which warn against "personal opinion" in favor of evidence-based exams informing publicly given advice.[25]

Olive oil lawsuit edit

In November 2016, the North American Olive Oil Association, a trade group of oil packagers and importers, sued Oz for one of his segments.[26] Oz told millions of his viewers in May 2016 that 80 percent of extra virgin oil in supermarkets may be "fake".[27] The association claimed that Oz falsely attacked the quality and integrity of Olive Oil in supermarkets and sued him for misinformation.[28] In the segment, Oz showed a certified olive oil expert who conducted a blind smell test of five popular Italian extra virgin olive oils, claiming that only one was authentic extra virgin oil.[28] The expert was revealed to be an employee of the California Olive Ranch, although she was not introduced as such.[29] The group claims that it monitors the quality of olive oil by conducting independent testing on oils taken directly from the shelves of supermarkets.[30]

The lawsuit took place in Georgia court, one of the states in the U.S. which has a food libel law and a lower threshold of proof than a defamation allegation.[31] The Dr. Oz Show defended its story and refuted the allegations.[28] In March 2017, the lawsuit was dismissed.[32] The judge ruled that the association failed to show that it was financially hurt by Oz's actions and found no statements which claimed that olive oil was unsafe for human consumption.[32]

Medical marijuana edit

Oz denounced the "hypocrisy" in the Drug Enforcement Administration's classification of cannabis as a Schedule I, controlled substance on Fox & Friends.[33] He has advocated for medical marijuana as a solution for the opioid epidemic during an episode of the series featuring Montel Williams.[34]

Miracle diet pills edit

In March 2020, a California court dismissed a lawsuit brought against Oz stating that it had misrepresented the effectiveness of "fat bursting" supplements in his show.[35]

Colloidal silver edit

On at least three episodes Oz promoted colloidal silver as a treatment for cold symptoms, wounds, viruses, and bacteria, but there is no evidence at all to support any medical uses of it.[36] Despite Oz's recommendations, colloidal silver does not treat or prevent any disease or condition, and it is not proven safe to consume.[37]

References edit

  1. ^ Belluz, Julia (April 16, 2015). "The making of Dr. Oz: How an award-winning doctor turned away from science to embrace fame". Vox.
  2. ^ Korownyk, C.; Kolber, M. R.; McCormack, J.; Lam, V.; Overbo, K.; Cotton, C.; Finley, C.; Turgeon, R. D.; Garrison, S.; Lindblad, A. J.; Banh, H. L.; Campbell-Scherer, D.; Vandermeer, B.; Allan, G. M. (2014). "Televised medical talk shows—what they recommend and the evidence to support their recommendations: a prospective observational study". BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.). 349: g7346. doi:10.1136/bmj.g7346. PMC 4269523. PMID 25520234. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  3. ^ "Lies, fraud, conflicts of interest, and bogus science: The real Dr. Oz effect". January 29, 2015. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  4. ^ Stecula, Dominik A.; Motta, Matthew; Kuru, Ozan; Jamieson, Kathleen Hall (March 29, 2022). "The Great and Powerful Dr. Oz? Alternative Health Media Consumption and Vaccine Views in the United States". Journal of Communication. 72 (3): 374–400. doi:10.1093/joc/jqac011. Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  5. ^ Freeman, David (September 15, 2011). "Apple juice safe despite arsenic, FDA tells Dr. Oz". CBS News.
  6. ^ Neale, Todd (September 15, 2011). "FDA Slams 'Dr. Oz' for Apple Juice Report". MedPage Today. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
  7. ^ Gann, Carrie (September 15, 2011). "Apple Juice Showdown: Dr. Oz Arsenic Claim Questioned by Dr. Besser". ABC News.
  8. ^ The Atlantic Wire (December 1, 2011). "Dr. Oz Vindicated: New Study Finds High Arsenic Levels in Apple Juice". Retrieved March 28, 2013.
  9. ^ "Consumer Reports tests juices for arsenic and lead". Consumer Reports. November 30, 2011. Archived from the original on December 1, 2011. Retrieved May 19, 2013.
  10. ^ "Dr. Oz slammed over apple juice arsenic warning". September 16, 2011. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  11. ^ "Dr. Oz's Reparative Or 'Ex-Gay' Episode Prompts Backlash From GLAAD, PFLAG And GLSEN". The Huffington Post. November 29, 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  12. ^ a b Oz, Mehmet (November 28, 2012). "The Reparative Therapy Controversy". Dr. Oz Blog. Harpo, Inc. Archived from the original on June 13, 2018. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  13. ^ Just the Facts Coalition (2008). Just the facts about sexual orientation and youth: A primer for principals, educators, and school personnel (PDF). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association. p. 5. Retrieved February 1, 2018. The most important fact about these "therapies" is that they are based on a view of homosexuality that has been rejected by all the major mental health professions.
  14. ^ a b Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation; Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network; PFLAG National (November 28, 2012). "LGBT Organizations Condemn Dr. Oz Show for Episode on So-Called Reparative Therapy, Ask Dr. Oz to Stand Up for His LGBT Viewers" (Press release). Los Angeles: Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Archived from the original on December 3, 2012.
  15. ^ a b "Senate Sub-Committee for Commerce, Science, and Transportation Hearing on Protecting Consumers from False and Deceptive Advertising of Weight-Loss Products". June 17, 2014.
  16. ^ "Dr.Oz-endorsed diet pill study was bogus, researchers admit". CBS News. October 20, 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  17. ^ Saunders, Russell (October 20, 2014). "Dr. Oz Green Coffee Bean Study Retracted". The Daily Beast. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  18. ^ de Moraes, Lisa (September 14, 2016). "Donald Trump Plays Media With "Surprise" Handover Of Physical Exam Rundown At 'Dr. Oz' Taping". Deadline. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  19. ^ Gass, Nick (September 9, 2016). "Dr. Oz pledges to avoid questions Trump 'doesn't want to have answered'". Politico. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  20. ^ a b Nguyen, Tina (September 14, 2016). "WHAT DONALD TRUMP REVEALED ON THE DR. OZ SHOW". Vanity Fair. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  21. ^ Taylor, Jessica (September 14, 2016). "Trump Shares Medical Information And Affinity For Fast Food With 'Dr. Oz'". NPR. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  22. ^ a b c Haberman, Maggie (September 14, 2016). "Donald Trump Checkup Said to Reveal He is Overweight". The New York Times. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  23. ^ Vox, Ford (September 18, 2016). "Trump and Oz: A match made in tv heaven". CNN. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  24. ^ Stetler, Brian; Lee, MJ (September 14, 2016). "Donald Trump surprises Dr. Oz with results of recent physical". CNN. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  25. ^ Japsen, Bruce (September 15, 2016). "In Trump's Dr. Oz Appearance, Consider The AMA's Guide To TV Doctors". Forbes. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  26. ^ "Olive Oil Trade Group Sues Dr. Oz After He Calls a Majority of Supermarket Olive Oil 'Fake'". ABC News. December 1, 2016. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  27. ^ Galuppo, Maria Mercedes (November 30, 2016). "Dr. Oz sued over claims about 'fake' olive oil". AOL. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  28. ^ a b c "Olive Oil Trade Group Sues Dr. Oz After He Calls a Majority of Supermarket Olive Oil 'Fake'". Yahoo. December 1, 2016. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  29. ^ Kuperinsky, Amy (November 30, 2016). "N.J. olive oil association suing Dr. Oz for segment alleging fake products". NJ. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  30. ^ "Olive oil trade group suing Dr. Oz". ABC. December 1, 2016. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  31. ^ Bentley, Rosalind (November 30, 2016). "Virgin or not? TV's Dr. Oz faces Georgia lawsuit over olive oil claims". AJC. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  32. ^ a b Lynch, Sarah N. (March 3, 2017). "Judge dismisses lawsuit against Dr. Oz over fake olive oil claims". Reuters. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  33. ^ "The Roll-Up #3: Dr. Oz and Fox & Friends". Leafly. September 22, 2017. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  34. ^ "Dr. Oz and Montel Williams on Whether Marijuana Can Treat Opioid Addiction". The Fix. September 22, 2017. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  35. ^ "Suit Dismissed Over Dr. Oz's 'Miracle' Diet Pills - Law360". Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  36. ^ Hananoki, Eric (January 10, 2022). "Mehmet Oz praised colloidal silver as a "smart" product that "has a ton of data behind it"". Media Matters for America. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  37. ^ "Colloidal Silver" (Last Updated September 2014). National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. July 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2016.