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Mehmet Oz

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Sticking his neck out
Against allopathy
Alternative medicine
Clinically unproven

Mehmet Oz, born Mehmet Cengiz Öz, (1960–) is a Turkish-American TV doctor who first became known from his appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show between 2004 and 2009. He went on to host his own syndicated television talk show, "The Dr. Oz Show" which first aired on September 14, 2009.

Oz is a heavy promoter of so-called complementary alternative medicine, such as rolfing[1] and acupuncture.[2] He's hardly seen a piece of medical woo he didn't like. He has also featured anti-GMO activists on his program.[3]

The general format of the Dr. Oz television show is to invite many people who work in healthcare for the audience, go through some very logical points with real medical background and consensus, having members of the audience participate, then ruin it by trying to peddle some alternative medicine garbage.

In May 2018, it was announced that President Donald Trump was appointing Dr. Oz to his council on sports, fitness and nutrition.[4] Because why stop at voodoo economics when you can throw in voodoo medicine?


As a doctor, Oz is actually one of the most accomplished cardiothoracic surgeons of his generation,[5] making his woo-peddling all the more disconcerting. He has advocated doing whatever is necessary to keep a blood pressure no more than 115/75, five points below the normally accepted 120/80, which at least is something that's actually in his area of professional competence.

The Dr. Oz Show[edit]

Like all commercial health TV programming, the purpose of the Dr. Oz Show is at least as much entertainment as medicine. Attempting to fill up nearly 5 hours of programming time each week with legitimate medicine while retaining a captive viewing audience is nearly impossible, particularly for a show that is constantly trumpeting new scientific "breakthroughs" and "miracles", which in real life are nearly non-existent. Hence, Dr. Oz fills his time with all sorts of material from the dubious to the downright fraudulent. In the past he has given time to such quacks as Joseph Mercola. Oz generally stops short of endorsing these charlatans, but the fact that a legitimate doctor gives them a platform at all borders on malfeasance. It also gives these medical frauds the ability to promote themselves with "as seen on the Dr. Oz Show."

Ed Brayton comments that Oz will not lose his medical license due to promoting quackery, because "none of the groups that could do anything about it want to" in spite of possible evidence that Oz violates medical ethics codes.[6]

Mike Adams, founder of Natural News, appeared as a guest on The Dr. Oz Show on May 13th. In a clip from the show, Oz introduces Adams as “the renegade health ranger,” whose website “gets more than 7 million hits per month.”[7]

Parasites and cleansing[edit]

While it is true that parasites are common in the United States,[8] as Oz has claimed, the parasites that are most common are not the ones that Oz frequently talks about. The most common parasites in the US are:[8]

  • 'Trypanosoma cruzi — infects 300,000 in the US and causes Chagas disease, spread by an insect known as the "kissing bug"
  • Toxoplasma gondii — infects more than 60 million people, spread to humans cats and perhaps other vectors
  • Trichomoniasis — a sexually transmitted disease
  • Cysticercosis — transmitted from undercooked pork, it has mostly been eliminated from the US food supply and mainly occurs in US in people who have eaten pork in Latin America[9]

Rather than discussing how to prevent these diseases (there's not much money in that anyway), Oz instead concentrates on gastrointestinal parasites, which infect relatively few people in the US but can sound disgusting and scary (Ewww, giant tapeworms![10] And they're blown up on a 4 meter square screen![11]).

Oz regularly proposes detoxification diets and colon cleanses,[11][12][13][14][15] which do nothing for parasites or for one's health.[16]

Delusional infestation (or delusional parasitosis) is a rare mental disorder, where a person has a "fixed, false belief (delusion) that they are infected by 'bugs': parasites, worms, mites, bacteria, fungus, living 'threads', or other living organisms."[17][18] The disorder can be treated with antipsychotic medication,[17] but don't count on Dr. Oz to tell his viewers this — it would spoil the giant videos of parasites that he shows while he scares people.[11]

Other stuff pushed on his show[edit]

In 2010, he said some things that implied that he — or at least his wife — is anti-vaccination.[19][20]

A 2012 episode warned viewers of hidden food allergies, claiming they could take weeks to strike.

A 2014 episode decried the proliferation of Genetically modified food, claiming that a lot of our crops have been modified to be pesticide resistant.


Medicine is a very religious experience. I have my religion and you have yours. It becomes difficult for us to agree on what we think works, since so much of it is in the eye of the beholder. Data is rarely clean.
—Dr. Oz, quoted in The New Yorker, 4-Feb-2013, [21]


See the main article on this topic: Resveratrol

One of his biggest controversies involved the chemical resveratrol. While pharmaceutical research on laboratory mice showed it had some potential as an anti-aging agent, Dr. Oz went one step further by promoting it as some New Age miracle, and pushing his own supplemental version of the chemical, despite a current lack of proof of its benefits/risks for humans.[22]

John Edward[edit]

See the main article on this topic: John Edward

John Edward once appeared on the Dr. Oz show, where he did what he always does, and claimed to talk with the dead while really doing a cold reading with members of the studio audience. At no point in the episode did Dr. Oz question whether Edward could really talk to dead people.

Reparative therapy[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Reparative therapy

In November 2012, Oz provided a perfect example of false balance by giving a platform to "both sides" of the "debate" about reparative therapy. In reality, there is no debate: reparative therapy is utterly discredited and those who still promote it are a bunch of homophobic whacknuts. A very small bunch of homophobic whacknuts. As a result, gay rights groups ripped him a new one.[23] Oz later apologized and said that "after reviewing the available medical data, I agree with the established medical consensus. I have not found enough published data supporting positive results with gay reparative therapy and I have concerns about the potentially dangerous effects when the therapy fails".[24] It's slightly shocking to see Oz reason from medical data and scientific consensus, but there you have it.

Pigasus Award[edit]

Dr Oz won the James Randi Educational Foundation's Pigasus Award (Media section) in 2010 and 2011 for doing "such a disservice to his TV viewers by promoting quack medical practices that he is now the first person to win a Pigasus two years in a row."[25] He also won in the Refusal to Face Reality section in 2013.[26]

United States Senate inquiry[edit]

I don't get why you need to say this stuff when you know it's not true. When you have this amazing megaphone, why would you cheapen your show? … With power comes a great deal of responsibility.
—Senator Claire McCaskill, as quoted by CNN, [27]

In June, 2014, Dr. Oz faced a congressional inquiry by the Senate's Consumer Protection Subcommittee over his promotion of "miracle" diet pills.[28][29] The concerns raised by that panel being, unironically, that he was promoting pills that he claimed would "magically" melt fat when he, himself, knew that such claims were unsubstantiated.

Sliced and diced[edit]

In 2014, the BMJ (British Medical Journal) published an analysis of medical recommendations made on 40 episodes each of The Dr. Oz Show and The Doctors TV Show. Oz had an average of 12 recommendations per show. "For recommendations in The Dr Oz Show, evidence supported 46%, contradicted 15%, and was not found for 39%." The authors concluded regarding both shows, "Potential conflicts of interest are rarely addressed. The public should be skeptical about recommendations made on medical talk shows."[30]

Trouble at his other job[edit]

As late as 2015, Oz was vice chair of the Department of Surgery at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, where he has retained his position as a full professor throughout his entertainment career.[31] All of the woo pushing finally engendered the attention of several colleagues (including former FDA official Henry I. Miller), and they mounted an earnest attempt to get rid of him. They wrote in an open letter to the dean of Columbia’s Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine:

Dr. Oz is guilty of either outrageous conflicts of interest or flawed judgements about what constitutes appropriate medical treatments, or both… Dr. Oz has repeatedly shown disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine… Worst of all, he has manifested an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.

Dr. Oz is responding to the criticisms in the only way he knows how, by writing a letter to the editor of prestigious medical journal having a special segment on his TV show.[32]

To add to this brouhaha, a court ruled in April 2016 that NY Med, a reality TV show hosted by Dr. Oz, had illegally filmed patients at New York-Columbia Presbyterian Hospital (affiliated with the Columbia University Medical Center). This resulted in a $2.2 million dollar HIPAA fine to the hospital.[33] Why this man is still allowed anywhere near a patient is anyone's guess.

Although he quietly relinquished his administrative role following the controversies — and, save for a couple of stray publications, has not maintained an active research program since his television show began production in 2009 — Oz remains on the Columbia faculty as a professor and medical director of the university's Integrative Medicine Center.[34] As Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger cooperated with a 2019 expose by the university's undergraduate student newspaper on its labyrinthine, dysfunctional judicial system for tenured faculty (in what amounted to a kind of hell-freezes-over moment)[35] in the years following the HIPAA fine, it could be reasonably surmised that Oz's continued affiliation with Columbia is more indicative of the fact that he has not been accused of felonious conduct than an institutional endorsement of his quackery. Yet one of the cosigners of the aforementioned open letter, Gilbert Ross of the American Council on Science and Health, described Oz as “a true asset to Columbia -- as a surgeon” and encouraged him to “return to the operating theater, where he can do much real good.”[36] Ultimately, Oz's later career is a case study in how tenure (designed in part to protect innovative work that upends disciplinary conventions from suppression) can potentially allow one to pursue quackery as a lucrative avocation.

Batshit coronavirus public statements[edit]

In April 2020, Dr. Oz took to Sean Hannity's program and proclaimed the importance of re-opening schools, saying "I just saw a nice piece in the Lancet arguing the opening of schools may only cost us two to three per cent in terms of total mortality".[37] "Two to three percent in terms of total mortality"! Apparently 2-3 of every 100 kids/parents/school staff/faculty/administrators/county school board members snuffing it is an acceptable casualty rate for our very own fix-it-all doctor man. Really, you almost gotta be impressed that he willingly went on air to make a statement reflecting an absolutely preposterous level of disdain for the value of human life.

External links[edit]


  1. Your Questions Answered!
  2. Does Acupuncture Really Work?
  3. Dr. Oz Presents Highly Inaccurate Information
  4. Trump appointing Dr. Oz to his sport, fitness and nutrition council, CNN
  6. Brayton, Ed. "How Does Dr. Oz Keep His License?" Dispatches from the Culture Wars: June 27, 2014.
  7. The Renegade Health Ranger: Mike Adams, Pt 1
  8. 8.0 8.1 Parasitic Infections also occur in the United States: Millions of people infected (Page last reviewed: May 8, 2014) Centers for Disease Control.
  9. See the Wikipedia article on Cysticercosis.
  10. Meet the Worm Dr. Oz Calls the Mother of All Parasites (Aug 29, 2014) The Oprah Winfrey Show.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 [Dr Oz parasites — Get rid of your parasites — The Best Colon Cleanse by Krystal Taylor (Sep 13, 2014) YouTube (archived from April 24, 2016).
  12. The 10-Day Detox Diet Jump Start Guide: Dr. Mark Hyman reveals the secrets to making this 10-day weight loss plan a success. (2/21/2014) The Dr. Oz Show (archived from March 2, 2014).
  13. Dr. Oz's 3-Day Detox Cleanse One-Sheet (11/09/2012) The Dr. Oz Show (archived from November 14, 2012).
  14. Find the Right Cleanse for Your Body Type: Learn which of Dr. Alejandro Junger's customized cleanse addresses the specific needs of your body type. (1/27/2014) The Dr. Oz Show.
  15. Dr. Oz reveals detox meal plan for weight loss and melting belly fat (January 27, 2014) (archived from January 29, 2014).
  16. Detox treatments by Dr. Oz and others lack evidence, benefit: CBC Marketplace investigation debunks common cleanse myths by Megan Griffith-Greene (Posted: Jan 17, 2014 5:00 AM ET | Last Updated: January 17, 2014) CBC News.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Delusional infestation: Epidemiology, clinical presentation, assessment and diagnosis by Kathryn N Suh (Jun 07, 2018) Wolters Kluwer.
  18. See the Wikipedia article on Delusional parasitosis.
  19. Regarding Dr. Mehmet Oz: Whoops. Maybe I spoke too soon about vaccines
  20. Yet he was still accused of being a Big Pharma Shill…
  21. Specter, Michael. "Is Doctor Oz Doing More Harm Than Good?"
  22. Dr. Oz takes a risk
  23. Gay rights groups rip ‘Dr. Oz Show’ over episode on reparative therapy, MSNBC
  27. Senators grill Dr. Oz about 'miracle' weight loss claims
  28. Another irony meter blown: Dr. Oz to testify in front of the Senate’s Consumer Protection panel about weight loss scams, Respectful Insolence
  29. McCaskill Takes Aim at Diet Scams That Are 'A Crisis in Consumer Protection'
  30. Televised medical talk shows—what they recommend and the evidence to support their recommendations: a prospective observational study by Christina Korownyk et al. BMJ 2014;349:g7346
  31. Physician’s Profile: Mehmet C. Oz, MD, FACS
  32. Experts want Dr. Oz fired from teaching post by Scott Collins (April 17, 2015) Los Angeles Times
  37. Scott, Katie. (April 16, 2020). Dr. Oz under fire for suggesting coronavirus deaths associated with reopening schools a 'tradeoff' Global News. Retrieved April 16, 2020.