'Why Would You Say That?': Dr. Oz Grilled By Lawmakers Over Weight Loss Claims
Dr. Mehmet Oz appeared before a Senate subcommittee yesterday (clip above) and was called out by some lawmakers over statements about so-called "miracle" weight loss products. He was specifically taken to task by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), chair of the consumer protection panel, who pointed to a 2012 episode of the "The Dr. Oz Show" in which he proclaimed green coffee extract to be a "magic weight loss cure for every body type."
"I get that you do a lot of good on your show, but I don't get why you need to say this stuff because you know it's not true," said McCaskill, challenging why he would "ever say something is a miracle in a bottle."
Oz said he believes he should be a "cheerleader" for his viewers, instilling hope that they can lose weight, including seeking out "alternative traditions" to help them.
McCaskill called the hearing to investigate how to protect consumers from weight loss scams, including questionable products being sold under false claims that they are endorsed by Oz.
The doctor has since pushed back against the scams, including setting up a website and asking consumers to report products claiming to have his backing.
Here's more on the hearing from AP:
Within weeks of Oz's comments about green coffee - which refers to the unroasted seeds or beans of coffee - a Florida-based operation began marketing a dietary supplement called Pure Green Coffee, with claims that the chlorogenic acid found in the coffee beans could help people lose 17 pounds and cut body fat by 16 percent in 22 weeks.
The company, according to federal regulators, featured footage from "The Dr. Oz Show," to sell its supplement. Oz has no association with the company and received no money from sales.
Last month, the Federal Trade Commission sued the sellers behind Pure Green Coffee and accused them of making bogus claims and deceiving consumers.
The weight-loss industry is an area where consumers are particularly vulnerable to fraud, Mary Koelbel Engle, an associate director at the FTC, testified at the Senate hearing. She said the agency conducted a consumer survey in 2011 and found that more consumers were victims of fraudulent weight-loss products than of any of the other specific frauds covered in the survey.
Oz stressed during the hearing that he has never endorsed specific supplements or received money from the sale of supplements. Nor has he allowed his image to be used in ads for supplements, he said.
"If you see my name, face or show in any type of ad, email, or other circumstance," Oz testified, "it's illegal" - and not anything he has endorsed.