Dr. Oz scolded by lawmakers at Senate hearing over weight loss products
Even Dr. Oz might need a doctor after the beating he took on Capitol Hill.
Famed television doctor Mehmet Oz sparred with lawmakers Tuesday when he testified before a Senate panel to defend his frequent claims that certain products can cause “miracle” weight loss.
At a Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee hearing led by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) on deceptive advertising for weight loss products, the “Dr. Oz Show” host stood his ground as senators piled on, demanding that he stop endorsing such products as “Pure Green Tea.”
“I don’t get why you need to say this stuff, because you know it’s not true,” McCaskill said.
“The scientific community is almost monolithically against you in terms of the efficacy of the products you called ‘miracles,’” McCaskill told Oz.
She was joined in her criticism of Oz by others on the panel.
“It’s a major problem when people are spending more and more money and they’re gaining more and more weight,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).
“Either you don’t talk about these things at all, or you’re going to have to be more specific, because right now, this is not working.”
Oz testified that he “heard the message,” but continued to argue for his approach. “I do personally believe in the items that I talk about,” he said.“I intensively study them. I have given my family these products … If you can lose a pound a week more than you would have lost by not using them, it jump-starts you and gets you going. I think it makes sense.”
“I’m surprised you’re defending this,” McCaskill replied. “It’s something that gives people false hope. I don’t see why you need to go there.”
Oz responded, “When I can’t use language that is flowery, that is exulting, I feel like I’ve been disenfranchised.”
The hearing, which included five other witnesses, was held to investigate a string of fraudulent businesses using Oz’s language to sell fake weight loss products.
Oz has been embroiled in a whack-a-mole-style legal battle against such companies for years. Each time his lawyers close one down, another one pops up.
The Federal Trade Commission is now suing a Florida company that capitalized on Oz’s claims about green coffee bean extract to market a new weight loss remedy.
The FTC charged the business with false advertising after it claimed the product, “Pure Green Coffee,” could help users lose 20 pounds in four weeks.
“I know I’ve made their lives more difficult” at the FTC, Oz said. He suggested that Congress institute policies that would encourage whistleblowing at fraudulent companies and even a bounty for those going after them.
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