Dr. Oz hopes to win Pennsylvania’s GOP Senate primary, but his show should be a warning to voters

When Dr. Mehmet Oz threw his stethoscope in the ring for Pennsylvania’s open U.S. Senate seat, he promoted his medical credentials as a reason voters would pick him over his Republican challengers in Tuesday’s primary. His campaign website presents it as “Dr. Oz” and notes that “surgeons keep their priorities straight and always protect their patients first with competent delivery of the best approaches.”

Oz has indeed top-notch medical degrees. He graduated from two Ivy League universities, was a teacher in a thirdwrote hundreds of scientific articles, holds several patents and once specialized in heart transplants. Last year, Oz helped four police officers use CPR to save a man’s life at Newark Liberty International Airport.

Calculations on the back of the envelope would suggest he gave bad medical advice on his show more than 4,000 times from 2009 to 2022.

The vehicle that made him a household name and gave him the opportunity to make it to the United States Capitol, however, was his nationally broadcast program, “The Dr. Oz Show.” And we know from his show that he’s all too willing to throw science by the wayside for the ratings, which makes his claim to be a good Senate contender all the more troubling. basis of his career. His show – and his endorsement by former President Donald Trump – could see him win the primary once all the ballots are counted (the race is currently too close to be announced), but it should serve as a warning to voters . come down if he becomes the GOP nominee.

Oz never brought the rigor of his resume to his TV show. A 2014 study of 40 randomly selected episodes from 2013 found that only 46% of its recommendations were supported by evidence, and 1 in 7 were actually contradicted by scientific data. The study also found that he gave an average of 12 recommendations per episode, meaning he gave bad advice on average once or twice per episode. Assuming these stats stayed the same during his show 2305 episodes run, calculations on the back of the envelope would suggest he gave bad medical advice on his show more than 4,000 times from 2009 to 2022.

Some of his more outlandish claims included the idea that you can whiten your teeth with baking soda and strawberries (an acidic food), but rubbing acid on your teeth won’t whiten them and may even weaken them. Oz also claimed, apparently based on the misinterpretation of a test, that common brands of apple juice contain dangerous levels of arsenic, with the Food and Drug Administration calling it “irresponsible and misleading” for having makes this assertion. (Oz responded by defending his results.)

He received even more feedback for promoting what he called the “magic weight loss remedy” of green coffee bean extract. The study that supported this claim was retractedand medical authorities advise caution against it due to possible harmful interactions with health conditions and medications.

In 2014 he was dragged before the very legislature he now wants to represent to explain his shilling of green coffee bean extract and other dodgy weight loss supplements. Unlike his TV show, Oz confessed to senators that he grilled him that a magic diet pill does not exist and that he uses “flowery” language. Oz told them“There’s no one pill that’s going to help you lose weight in the long run. [and] live the best life, without diet or exercise.

In 2016, he and related companies were sued for false advertising for exaggerating the effects of green coffee bean diet pills. Two years later they settled out of court for $5.25 million. (The statement on the settlement notes that the defendants have “not been found liable for any wrongdoing and are satisfied with the resolution of this matter.”)

As problematic as his miracle cures are some of the guests he has invited to his show. He had repeated interviews with Joseph Mercola, whom a New York Times headline called “The most influential spreader of coronavirus misinformation online.” (Mercola told The Times he thought the designation was “pretty peculiar.”) Oz also welcomed several “mediums”.

Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with letting people with controversial opinions appear on a show — as long as you hold them accountable for their opinions. When performer Uri Geller went on “The Tonight Show” trying to bend spoons without touching themhost Johnny Carson approached it with an appropriate level of skepticism (and, at times, sarcasm) as Geller failed miserably for 20 minutes to do anything.

When Char Margolis attempted to show off his claimed abilities to see the spirit world on WGN Morning News, one anchor accurately noted that his act was “failing miserably”. But when Margolis appeared on “The Dr. Oz Show” for a segment titled “Means versus medicine,” Oz seemed to be part of Team Medium – meaning either a man who wrote hundreds of scientific papers was tricked by simple parlor tricks, or he knew his special power was just guesswork, but didn’t think he should point this out to his audience.

In 2014, he was dragged before the very legislative body he now wants to represent to explain his shilling of green coffee bean extract and other shady weight loss supplements.

At one point, under fire for his program’s shenanigans, Oz defended himself by telling NBC News that his show was “not a medical show,” while keeping the word “doctor” in its title. This kind of doublespeak might make him well suited to be a politician, but not to serve the people of Pennsylvania in what has been called the “world’s greatest legislative body.”

Complex problems require complex solutions, but long before Oz entered politics, he seemed to appreciate that it is much easier to give a simple solution without nuance than to explain the pros and cons of policies carefully. thoughts.

Would clever proposals for health care reform be met with pithy suggestions of a fruit extract we should take instead? Would our soldiers receive unfounded “energizing” supplements? If another doctor were called before the Senate for exaggerated claims, would he treat them with the appropriate skepticism, or like a psychic on one of his shows? Our federal government spending billions of dollars on health care every year, and Oz would be a poor steward of our money.

Oz abused its platform for years. He should fix his wrongdoings and properly explain to his fans that there is no magic pill that will make you skinny (much less a simple trick to reforming immigration laws). Since he seems unwilling to do so, voters in Pennsylvania should let him know that he is not a pill they need to swallow.

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