Paging national medical orgs: Dr. Oz needs a response

This is a pretty good target for some skeptical activism. However, it’s going to take a large-scale effort to do something about Dr. Oz, the nation’s doctor, sad as that is. But, I think the clouds are forming over his head ever since his disgraceful display before a congressional hearing.

Meet the medical student who wants to bring down Dr. Oz

Benjamin Mazer is a third-year medical student at the University of Rochester. Last year, after becoming increasingly concerned with the public-health impact of Dr. Mehmet Oz’s sometimes pseudoscience health advice, he decided to ask state and national medical associations to do something about it.

“Dr. Oz has something like 4-million viewers a day,” Mazer told Vox. “The average physician doesn’t see a million patients in their lifetime. That’s why organized medicine should be taking action.”

Last year, Mazer brought a policy before the Medical Society of the State of New York—where Dr. Oz is licensed—requesting that they consider regulating the advice of famous physicians in the media. His idea: Treat health advice on TV in the same vein as expert testimony, which already has established guidelines for truthfulness.

Should Dr. Oz be targeted? Yes.

Doctors should be telling their patients that getting advice from a TV celeb doctor is not a substitute for professional medical consultation and may even be dangerous. Dr. Oz promotes a ton of ridiculous nonsense like reiki, supplements and psychics. It seems like it would not take much to show Dr. Oz in a less than scientific light and cast his medical reputation into question. It’s done rather regularly by science-based medicine bloggers. We can probably gather a dozen references in a few minutes.

Mazer notes that medical associations are not being proactive enough against bogus therapies and individuals who promote non-science-based medicine. But they should be. It’s part of their job. Many doctors do not know that people regularly use dietary supplements and self-help treatments but don’t tell doctors. They think it’s harmless. But as we’ve seen time and again, it may not be harmless.

It’s good practice to remind your loved ones who are fans of Dr. Oz that his TV show is not medically approved advice. It’s a guy, who happens to use his credentials to look authoritative on TV, to deliver hope and entertainment to people who do not have adequate background to judge what he is delivering.

Dr. Oz deserves his own anti-fan club.


  8 comments for “Paging national medical orgs: Dr. Oz needs a response

  1. Kevin
    July 16, 2014 at 11:19 PM

    It’s nice to see The Lizard of Gauze get called on his pseudo-medicine.

  2. Peter obinson
    July 17, 2014 at 2:26 AM

    All credit to Benjamin Mazer for his efforts! Perhaps a good network to ramp the campaign would be via all major medical schools? As well as the skeptical movement of course. Wishing the campaign well from the U.K.

  3. Angela
    July 17, 2014 at 6:53 AM

    I love this. A medical student, even. I loved his responses, especially regarding the relationship between family doctors and their patients getting undermined due to the bad advice given by Dr. Oz. I agree with him in that Oz is not intentionally trying to hurt anyone. Intentions don’t matter when harm is being done. Kudos to this young man!

  4. Terrence Lee
    July 17, 2014 at 7:58 AM

    “Lizard of Gauze” what a great name! First time I’ve heard it.

  5. don salter
    July 17, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    It is all about the money; follow the money and you will see why he does this. He would not have the following if he was giving real medical advice. Just look at the following of right wing anti-anything radio and tv stars. Bet that most of those who follow the Oz also follow these jokers!

  6. Lee
    July 17, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    I am Dr. from the land of OZ! I was told by the scarecrow that if you take straw and place it into all your orifices it will increase your intelligence. I am now offering to the public the magic straw at a very special price! Aren’t I GREAT!!!

  7. Mike C
    July 17, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    I tried watching his show once. He makes an announcment for whats coming on next. It was about how your birthday can help you lose wait. Then after the commercial break he brings out a numerologist. I said, “that’s enough” and changed the channel. I mean numerology is as “sciency” as astrolgy.

  8. Kim G
    October 2, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    More power to you. What Dr. Oz does should be illegal. It lacks scientific integrity. It is hard to believe that his colleagues have not ousted him from the practice of medicine.

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