If you were thinking of trying Dr. Oz’s “magic weight-loss cure” of green coffee bean extract, don’t waste your money. The researchers responsible for the only scientific study backing up the television doctor’s claim released a statement today saying the study was bogus.
Science watchdog website Retraction Watch reported that the two researchers who were paid to write the 2012 study, originally published in the journal Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy, admitted the data could not be verified.
“The sponsors of the study cannot assure the validity of the data so we, Joe Vinson and Bryan Burnham, are retracting the paper,” the researchers said in the statement.
According to CBS News, the diet pill study claimed that green coffee bean extract could help people lose weight without diet or exercise.
Dr. Oz’s endorsement of the supplement on his show in May of 2012 helped the company sell half a millions bottles of the diet pills but he came under criticism for touting an unproven supplement. The Inquisitr reports that he was even accused of “quackery” by some in the medical community.
Oz decided to conduct his own trial of with his studio audience, giving half of the 100 women who participated the green coffee bean extract and the other half a placebo. Oz and his researchers reported after two weeks the women taking the diet pills lost twice as much weight as the women who didn’t take them.
Oz was questioned during a Senate hearing last June about deceptive advertising for several diet products, including the green coffee bean extract. He defended his endorsements by saying, “My show is about hope. We’ve engaged millions in programs — including programs we did with the CDC — to get folks to realize there are different ways they can rethink their future.”
Senator Claire McCaskill, chair of the Senate Consumer Protection Panel told CBS at the time, “I’ve got no problem with celebrity endorsements of any product but I do have a problem when a science-based doctor says something is a miracle when there’s no science to back it up.”
Yahoo News reports that the FTC fined the supplement’s manufacturer, Applied Food Sciences, in September for making baseless claims.
According to the FTC complaint, the company paid researchers in India to conduct a clinical trial on overweight people, and the researchers altered crucial data, including participants’ weight measurements. The company then hired Vinson and Burnham to rewrite the study and get it published.
Applied Food Sciences agreed to pay a $3.5 million settlement.
CBS legal analyst Eboni Williams says it is not likely that Dr. Oz will face legal action for endorsing the product because unless there is proof that Oz knew the data was fraudulent, he can’t be held liable.
“Basically this boils down to ‘good faith.’ A plaintiff could argue that he ‘should’ have known better, but it’s a high burden to prove the requisite knowledge required to prevail in court.”
Do you think Dr. Oz should be held liable for promoting a bogus diet pill?
[Image via NY Daily News]