Television personality Mehmet Oz — better known as “Dr. Oz” — had an uncomfortable day on Capitol Hill Tuesday when the U.S. Senate repeatedly placed him on the defence over his weight loss products, which have been treated with scepticism by medical experts.
“I know you know how much power you have. I know you know that. You are very powerful and [with] power comes a great deal of responsibility,” Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), who lead the Senate’s consumer protection hearing titled “Protecting Consumers from False and Deceptive Advertising of Weight-Loss Products.”
“You are being made an example of today because of the power you have in this space,” McCaskill quickly added. “We didn’t call this hearing to beat up on you but we did call this hearing to talk about a real crisis in consumer protection. You can either be part of the police here or you can be part of the problem.”
Oz insisted he was no huckster but admitted the products promoted on his show don’t always have “the scientific muster” to present their benefits as “fact.”
“I actually do personally believe in the items that I talk about in the show. I passionately studied them. I recognise that oftentimes they don’t have the scientific muster to present as fact but nevertheless I would give my audience the advice I give my family all the time. And I have given my family these products,” he said.
Oz also said some ideas, such as prayer, inherently can’t be studied in a scientific process.
“I don’t think this ought to be a referendum on the use of alternative medical therapies. Because if that’s the case, listen, I’ve been criticised for having folks coming on my show talking about the power of prayer,” he said. “I can’t prove that prayer helps people survive an illness.”
“Prayer’s free,” McCaskill countered.
“That’s a very good point,” Oz said.
Watch the entire hearing below. (The McCaskill-Oz exchange heats up around the one-hour mark.)
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