Dr. Oz a Danger to Both Modern Medicine and Homeopathy

Dr. Oz

Dr. Mehmet Oz spent Tuesday in meeting with the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance. Oz came under question for many of the claims he has made on his popular television program, “The Dr. Oz Show,” particularly claims about weight loss supplements he has recommended to his viewers. The celebrity doctor has a history of promoting useless supplements, fooling consumers into spending money on unproven products.

Dr. Oz has made a living off of the fact that nutritional supplements are not subject to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, allowing wild claims to be made and supplements to be sold wholesale without product testing. In the era of “One Weird Trick” weight loss solutions, and with the credibility of being one of America’s top heart transplant surgeons, Oz has made money by offering easy solutions to complex problems.

One such item is one of the supplements that was brought up in his Senate meeting, green coffee beans. The extract of these beans contains a chemical known as chlorogenic acid, something that may or may not have an actual affect on body mass. While green coffee beans have been connected to weight loss in one study, another found no correlation. However, that did not stop Dr. Oz from referring to the extract as a miracle on his show.

Oz’s language is his biggest tool. “The Dr. Oz Show” leads viewers to believe that he is straddling the line between modern medicine and homeopathy, when he has actually erased that line and put up a for sale sign instead. There is much to be said for Oz’s goal of wanting patients to be as comfortable in an exam room as doctors are, but words like “miracle” and “revolutionary” are marketing terms, not medical.

There are many things Oz does well, but showmanship is his top skill. He really does seem to genuinely care about people, and he is still a practicing heart surgeon. However, in spite of his extensive medical training, he continues to promote things that he really does not seem to even believe in himself. In front of the Senate, he used much more sober language about the green coffee extract, saying it was “worth trying.” There was no audience to rile up, and so the enthusiasm for the product completely dissipated. Personally, he does not partake in any of the fads he claims are solutions. Oz attempts to dazzle, and moves on to the next miraculous solution before he can be called out on the last.

The real danger is not that Dr. Oz is offering up harmful products, but that he taking away the legitimacy of real medicine by laying it out alongside pseudoscience. Oz may not make money on the supplements he hawks, but he makes money on an incredibly successful television show that is fueled by offering simple solutions to complex problems. Acknowledging the need to eat healthy and exercise is almost pointless after one has been told they can solve their blood pressure issues with cocoa powder. Dr. Oz makes his money by selling false hope.

Oz perhaps realizes that it can be difficult to stand out in the media with straightforward and sensible advice, when the same thing can be heard from any doctor. However, it is still irresponsible to offer up useless diet aids as science, misinterpret research, or to present completely false information as a fair alternative. He may think he is the usher of an era of patient driven medical care, and a common friend of homeopathy and modern medicine. Rather, he is an enemy to both.

Opinion by Brian Moore

New Yorker

25 Responses to "Dr. Oz a Danger to Both Modern Medicine and Homeopathy"

  1. Josue Ludtke   March 10, 2019 at 8:15 am

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  2. Nona Cordner   March 8, 2019 at 4:00 am

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  3. Yadi   September 28, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    I have studied Oriental Medicine for 15 years, and have an active clinic in Charlotte, NC. I would like to hear more people who actually USE the supplements for their patients talk about results than someone who doesn’t.


    Yadi Alamin

  4. ScienceAdmirer   June 23, 2014 at 9:25 am

    As your evidence is personal anecdotes it doesn’t matter how many they accumulate. We know by observation they are probably biased. Do some proper clinical trials.

  5. nancyherm   June 23, 2014 at 6:13 am

    These comments remind me of the tea party use of the flag, claiming it as their own, all the while damning the government. Science has nothing to do with whether pharmaceuticals work or whether accepted procedures are successful. How about cancer? How many doctors push chemo and radiation when they haven’t been shown to work? There’s nothing ‘scientific’ about it, it just makes money. So if you’re going to point fingers, let’s take a look at what you’re defending first.

    • GloriaL   June 23, 2014 at 6:55 am

      Well said!

  6. anarchic_teapot (@anarchic_teapot)   June 22, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Oz can be an enemy to homeopathy all he likes. It’s pure quackery. There is no doubt whatsoever on the subject, and as a fully-qualified doctor he knows this..

    • GloriaL   June 23, 2014 at 7:09 am

      “Quackery”? Sounds like you don’t know anything at all about homeopathy. Homeopathy is recognized by the WHO as the second most used system of medicine in the world today. It’s use is growing at annual rates of 10% to 30% in countries around the world because it’s effective, often curative, safe and inexpensive. Homeopathy is famous for its cures of chronic diseases — those diseases like type 2 diabetes mellitus that conventional medicine claims can’t be cured. You can see hundreds of contemporary case records of cures of conditions like cancer, addiction to Rx drugs and psychogenic diabetes mellitus by googling “homeopathy cured cases”.

      There are one-half million fully-qualified doctors practicing homeopathy. They invested an additional three or four years in training in order to practice it because they see what it can do for their patients.

      On the other hand, conventional drugs cure nothing and are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. No comparison between the two, is there?

  7. ScienceAdmirer   June 22, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Confusing article. An enemy of homeopathy? Nonsense, homeopathy fits in exactly with all the other non evidenced treatments he pushes. It is difficult to know if the quacks who make money from homeopathy and the rest of the silly treatments actually believe in them but this guy is obviously without ethics.

    • lauriej1   June 22, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      If you think that pharma is “evidenced” you’ve bought the con, however you talk like a “skeptic” groupie so it’s more likely you’re just continuing on with an established agenda to trash anything that isn’t pharma.

      • ScienceAdmirer   June 23, 2014 at 5:00 am

        Straight to the personal attack, lol. But then you don’t have anything else, do you?

        • lauriej1   June 23, 2014 at 8:20 am

          LOL what do you think your typification of Homeopathy is? Typical skeptic attitude, quackpotting about quacks and no actual knowledge or experience in the medical field.

          • ScienceAdmirer   June 23, 2014 at 9:22 am

            And still no evidence, just personal invective, scare quotes and making up nonsense. Surely after 200 years you would have something? And by evidence, I mean the real thing, not silly metaphysical maunderings and definitely not claims by homeopaths with a vested interest in getting it wrong. I doubt it though because after each well planned clinical trial showing that water treats nothing, we just get nonsensical claims. Anybody worth their salt would examine how these trials are carried out and use the same techniques. Now I wonder why homeopaths don’t do it. Hmm, could it be they know their nonsense doesn’t work?

    • nancyherm   June 23, 2014 at 6:17 am

      And your ethics are the only ones that should be considered? If you don’t agree, then you think it’s wrong. That’s not scientific, ‘Science Admirer.’ Alternative medicine is expanding by leaps and bounds because it has so much success, not because it isn’t working.

      • ScienceAdmirer   June 23, 2014 at 1:21 pm

        Alt med is increasing by fraudulent advertising. The alt medders often complain that they don’t make enough money to spend on research, doesn’t seem to prevent the stream of misinformation they publish. The trouble is, when you have no ethics you can say anything to sell your snake oil. Scientists cannot respond in the same way, they painstakingly observe and analyse. In return, those making a profit out of conning people can just make up their cricism and publish it in five minutes.

        • lauriej1   June 23, 2014 at 2:20 pm

          You got any facts to back up these opinions?

          • martinfe   June 23, 2014 at 3:14 pm

            Ha, thats rich coming from you! You don;t even realize when you put your Birkenstock in your mouth!

          • ScienceAdmirer   June 24, 2014 at 1:26 pm

            Oh, yes, there is plenty of evidence, in the UK there is an advertising standards agency. Have a look at the number of homeopaths who have been found to publish misleading adverts which they are unable to back up with any evidence. Look in these comments. There is someone who claims homeopathy has cured diabetes. See, it is easy to misinform, much harder to learn science to a standard enabling the reading of publications and realise this claim is just that, a claim with no evidence.

          • lauriej1   June 24, 2014 at 2:38 pm

            Advertising regulations in the UK are run by a private company that has no legal authority to enforce anything and they’re out of their depth when it comes to medicine.
            You have not backed up your claim that non-pharma based medicine is being used by more people because of fraudulent advertising, which is total nonsense. People use it because it works, and quite frankly, their choices are none of your business.

        • Nancy H   June 26, 2014 at 11:31 am

          Homeopathy doesn’t need advertising, it speaks for itself.

    • GloriaL   June 23, 2014 at 9:02 am

      The evidence for homeopathy is 25,000 volumes of cured case records that have resulted from its clinical use over the past 200+ years. The clinical evidence for homeopathy is supported by a couple of hundred studies published in 124 respected, national and international peer-reviewed journals.

      You undoubtedly believe that everyone should use conventional medicine so let’s look at the evidence for that:

      Adverse drug reactions are the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
      ADR’s caused over 2 million hospitalizations in 1994 alone in the U.S.
      Drug-related mortality/morbidity is estimated to cost the U.S. health care system more than $150 BILLION yearly.
      19 drugs have been withdrawn from the market since 1998
      26% of drugs introduced between 1980 and 2006 have black box warnings (meaning use at your own risk).

      Source: FDA/CDER/PhRMA/AASLD Meeting: “Detecting and Investigating Drug Induced Adverse Events, The International Serious Adverse Event Consortium’s Experience to Date”, March, 2008

      Freedom of choice in medicine is a human right.

  8. lauriej1   June 22, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Dr. Oz is only “considered a quack” by people who belong to “skeptic” cults. Pharma based medicine, the alternative, lost any credibility as being scientific a long time ago — it’s all about marketing, which is the substance of the allegations in this article.
    In fact, Oz has a legitimate beef with marketers who wish to cash in on his audience profile. He is not responsible for the actions of those people.
    The fact is that green coffee bean extract/chlorogenic acid is backed by at least 2 RCTs that showed a clear benefit for weight loss, actually beating out pharma weight loss drugs at a lower cost!

    • andrew   June 23, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      ^ lol, wow 2 studies! we should all be trying it now!!

      I can bet you money these “studies” are very small in nature, and their significance/application even smaller.

      • lauriej1   June 24, 2014 at 2:08 am

        Your argument is a speculation about research you didn’t even bother to look up? LOL The problem is you’re just looking to make an argument and it doesn’t matter how silly it is.

  9. mvalkenberg   June 22, 2014 at 7:32 am

    I honestly don’t understand the headline, or why homeopathy is singled out here. Yes, Doctor Oz is considered a quack by people who think that medicine should be based on scientific ideas and methods because he promotes useless therapies. These therapies include homeopathy, as well as other pseudoscientific methods. He would on pose a danger to homeopathy, if homeopathy did not fall into the category of useless pseudoscience. As it is, the fact that he gives credibility to unscientific ideas endangered real medicine – and possibly his audience – but not forms of quackery.


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