What Dr. Oz's Senate Hearing Can Teach You

Joe Weinlick
Posted by

In June of 2014, Dr. Mehmet Oz was called before the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance to testify at a hearing about fake weight loss products. During the Senate hearing, the senators grilled Dr. Oz about the products he promotes on his television show, scolding him for making false claims and delivering a strong dose of public humiliation. For healthcare professionals, the hearing is a valuable lesson in responsible patient communication.

One of the most significant grievances against Dr. Oz during the Senate hearing related to his so-called "miracle" weight-loss cures. Three in particular drew scathing remarks from the committee's chair, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO): green coffee beans, Garcinia cambogia and raspberry ketone. McCaskill scolded Oz for using the word "miracle" and reminded him that almost all off the existing scientific research was against him. She went on to say that his platform offered him a great deal of power and that he had a duty to exercise responsibility.

For people in the healthcare field, the hearing is a valuable reminder that patients may be getting their medical information from questionable sources. Though Dr. Oz is a practicing cardiothoracic surgeon, his television personality deals more in quick fixes and everyday advice. It is crucial not to underestimate his power and his reach. In fact, as McCaskill stated during the hearing, a single endorsement from Dr. Oz can lead to a dramatic increase in sales, a phenomenon she called the "Oz Effect."

While there is no way to stop patients from getting advice from Dr. Oz and other medical television personalities, it is important to help them weed through the advice to find the safest options. While the Senate subcommittee hearing focused on weight-loss products, Oz's television show and others of its kind promote a wide range of medical products, tips and treatments. Without intervention from a healthcare professional with knowledge of a patient's medical background, this advice has the potential to be dangerous.

The hearing also points to the importance of safe, reasonable weight-loss care in the United States. As evidenced by the "Oz Effect," consumers are desperate for a quick, painless solution. For healthcare professionals, this reinforces the need for readily available weight-loss coaching, information and education. Without the support of their doctors, consumers are likely to turn to supplements and quick cures that, at the very least, are a waste of time and money. At worst, they could cause health complications or problems.

Though Dr. Oz was called out publicly for his onscreen comments, the television doctor is not closing up shop. He has promised to be more thoughtful when promoting supplements, but medical professionals and consumers should be on the lookout for further dubious advice.

Photo courtesy of smokedsalmon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

  • PETER W.
    PETER W.

    Dr. Oz should not be someone's exscape goat!

  • nkechi o.
    nkechi o.

    no comment

  • Katherine M.
    Katherine M.

    It's unethical and irresponsible to promote quick fix supplements in exchange for exercise and healthy food choices. People do not become obese overnight, so the likelihood of them losing the weight overnight is non-existent. People like Dr. Oz have a tremendous reach, and should not endorse "fad" type remedies.

  • Mary Ellen B.
    Mary Ellen B.

    I agree with this information. Dr. Oz is a television personality, but his marketing and media coverage lead people to believe he is an authority on everything medical and all his information is all accurate. We as a society buy anthing that is celebrity driven. How sad, !

  • Ricky H.
    Ricky H.

    It's about the "show" and "ratings" and, of course, the dollars. We've had snake-oil salesmen in the U-S for 3 centuries. Remember the old saying, "if it sounds too good to be true......."

  • Joan W.
    Joan W.

    Health care advice should be dispensed in the context of a personal encounter in a professional settings; one that allows for questions, feedback, and follow up.

  • alan g.
    alan g.

    as far as I am concerned he should stick to surgery,and leave everything alone

  • Nancy Poznak
    Nancy Poznak

    Before trying anything, find out if there is reliable research to back up claims. However, 'reliable" can be tricky because research is usually done by the company that makes products. Sources such as Mayo Clinic and www.nih.gov are trust-worthy, and provide objective evaluations. Although some have stated they lost a lot of weight very quickly using supplements, they need to understand more about the mechanics and physiology of weight loss. Anything that causes this rapid loss of weight is going to affect our bodies in ways that we are not aware of, including an imposed, unnatural increase of metabolism. About 30% of weight loss involves loss of lean body tissue and water. This is not healthy when done so quickly. Some people boast of weight loss without diet and exercise and these people will gain the weight back, gain MORE than what was lost because they have less lean tissue, including LESS MUSCLE mass, than before. There is NO substitute for healthy eating and being active. A healthy lifestyle and common sense = miracle cure.

  • Barry Thistlethwaite
    Barry Thistlethwaite

    This joker should be disbarred and spend a little time in jail. He is a huckster and we need to protect the masses from him and all of those of his ilk.

  • regina amarante
    regina amarante

    I feel the biggest issue is. its all about money


    We adults, each of us, are ultimately responsible for our choices. Blame noone and it keeps the mirror clear so that each of us can see who exactly is truly responsible.


    When I see quick weight loss cures or "miracle" cures, I get this little voice in my head that says "If it was that easy to just take this herb or pill there would be no weight problems in America." Its a big problem, pun intended, and it will require a big effort.


    I also feel that people should do their research into the things they plan to use as supplements or any other type of healthcare remedy and know that any choice they make to put this or that into their bodies is "their own choice". When we put all our trust into what Dr Oz or even the FDA approve or deny we lose the power we have as individuals. We should all take responsibility for the choices we make. Become informed consumers and Live your own Truth.


    If I had to choose between what the FDA or Dr Oz was selling, Id feel safer with the advise of Dr Oz. Maybe the word "miracle" was a bit much and he should be a bit more responsible with his word choices but I feel he sincerely has my/our best interest in mind. The FDA and other governmental "protective" agencies are not a place of reliable "advise" when it comes to whats good and not good for me.

  • Elaine Holston
    Elaine Holston

    I used it too and lose 8 lbs and was energized, I think he was being helpful, really!!!

  • Maggie B.
    Maggie B.

    I have been Medical Assistant,Medical Office Manager,Pain Management Tech,& Medical Customer Service Rep. for over 41 years. I have ALWAYS tried to instill in ALL my patient's to be informed consumer's! Patient's are only paying their Health Care Professional's for their ADVISE!!! But use of word's like "miracle" MUST NOT BE USED!!

  • Lori H.
    Lori H.

    I've tried the garcinia cambogia, and I lost 15 lbs. in 2 weeks, I incorperated this supplement with light exercise and my regular diet, it wad very helpful to kickstart my weight loss. I don't believe Dr. Oz is at all irrresposible. I believe he is helping people.

Jobs to Watch