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June 18, 2024 9:06 pm

Mehmet Oz’s Troubled History Pedaling “Miracle Cures” for Over a Decade Raises Questions

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Staff Writer

In the final month of the U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania, Republican nominee Mehmet Oz’s past has raised questions about how he may use his office if elected. 

Before he became the Republican nominee, Oz gained success and notoriety as “Dr. Oz” in the eponymous “The Dr. Oz Show,” often serving as a one-stop shop for medical advice for viewers around the country and earning tens of millions of dollars while doing it.

But in that position, he faced a multitude of claims, from other medical doctors, researchers, lawmakers, and federal regulators that he spent years misleading millions about miracle cures for serious medical issues like obesity, and even cancer.

Video Credit: Washington Post

Over the years, Oz has promoted a handful of what he calls “miracle cures,” ranging from raspberry ketones for weight loss, a hemorrhoid treatment, or supplements for cancer prevention, among others. Though their intended positive effects are unclear, with the British Medical Journal previously having only found evidence for 46% of Oz’s recommendations

Often the promotion of these treatments have led to financial gain – Oz earned north of $9 million in 2021 from the Dr. Oz Show, and in past years, he’s directly benefitted from products he’s promoted. Oz earned $1.17 million from Covidien/Medtronic, which owns HET Systems, the maker of a hemorrhoid therapy he helped develop and wrote favorably about in a column.

This work has earned him rebuke from The Federal Trade Commission for false advertising, a key U.S. Senate panel on health and science that invited him to testify on the danger of over-the-counter diet pills and other products, and an active community of doctors both at Columbia University and in state, via the recently formed Real Doctors Against Oz.  

Since 2015, doctors at Columbia University, where Oz served on the faculty, have called for his removal, citing his television work as “manifesting an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.” In May 2022, Columbia University Medical Center cut all public ties with Oz – they removed Oz’s faculty profile and disconnected hyperlinks to the bio on several pages that mention his name from previous articles. His name also no longer appears in website searches for doctors with the school’s Irving Medical Center.

Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, has also weighed in on the longstanding public discourse about Oz early in October, calling him “a malicious scam artist.” 

Pennsylvania voters will get to decide who they want as their next senator in under a month, on November 8th, 2022.

The video used in this story originally appeared in the Washington Post.