Dr. Mehmet Oz has become known as “America’s doctor,” the label that his mentor Oprah Winfrey devised after she discovered his charisma during repeated episodes on her own talk show. But since the physician turned the Dr. Oz Show into a production featuring everything from “miracle” weight loss supplements to dramatized dangers of genetically modified foods, Dr. Oz also has become targeted with labels ranging from charlatan to quack. Now after a group of physicians have attacked him in a letter asking Columbia University to fire him from his position there, the controversy over Dr. Oz and what he represents has expanded, reported the Los Angeles Times.
But while the 10 prominent doctors who signed that letter remain irate about Dr. Oz, Columbia remains steadfast in its intention to keep him in his current faculty job. In addition, Dr. Oz’s producers have responded with a promise to fire back at the physicians who signed the letter.
“We plan to show America who these authors are, because discussion of health topics should be free of intimidation.”
But what are the “health topics” in question, and what are the charges against Dr. Oz? Those physicians, along with others, contend that the talk show host promotes remedies that lack significant proof of benefits (such as green coffee bean extract, subsequently shown to be touted by someone who profited by making the weight loss drugs).
But while even the British Medical Journal attacked Dr. Oz for his numerous episodes on “miracle” supplements for everything from belly fat to insomnia, his exposure of the dangers of genetically modified foods (GMOs) has gained some traction. Moreover, that letter to Columbia University was authored by Henry Miller, who is a fellow of Stanford’s Hoover Institution.
And Miller was one of the major leaders in attacking Proposition 36, a California ballot measure that represented the anti-GMO faction. Although it was defeated, those opposing GMOs have remained strong.
So, does the fact that Miller is against GMOs mean that he has a conflict of interest in attacking Dr. Oz?
“Total rubbish,” declared Miller.
As the Inquisitr reported, Dr. Oz holds several positions at Columbia University currently. He is surgery department vice chairmanship at Columbia University Medical School, a Columbia University professor of surgery, and director of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital’s Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program.
In their letter, the physicians criticized Columbia while specifying what riled them about Dr. Oz.
“We are surprised and dismayed that Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons would permit Dr. Mehmet Oz to occupy a faculty appointment, let alone a senior administrative position in the Department of Surgery… 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 guilty of either outrageous conflicts of interest or flawed judgments about what constitutes appropriate medical treatments, or both. Whatever the nature of his pathology, members of the public are being misled and endangered, which makes Dr. Oz’s presence on the faculty of a prestigious medical institution unacceptable.”
In addition, they challenged his views on genetically modified foods.
“Dr. Oz has repeatedly shown disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine, as well as baseless and relentless opposition to the genetic engineering of food crops.”
Dr. Oz has scheduled a show this week to challenge that and the other claims, according to the New York Times. On Thursday, he will emphasize his stance that manufacturers should put labels on foods that have been genetically modified.
But while the GMO controversy rages on, a new WikiLeaks document shows what goes into determining the topics covered by the Dr. Oz Show, reported Vox.
Several messages that leaked revealed that before Dr. Oz was grilled before a Senate subcommittee about his weight loss supplement claims, Sony executives urged that he not go. Among the reasons were his plans for a paid sponsorship.
“Dr. Oz has not entered into a paid sponsorship arrangement to date, but would like to explore doing so in the future,” wrote Keith Weaver, executive vice president for worldwide government affairs at Sony.
“We have apprised the appropriate parties of the risks associated with the future plans, as well as specific criticisms of Dr. Oz’s role in the national conversation about health that could emerge in the hearing or in subsequent coverage.”
And Dr. Oz’s public relations team expressed dismay about how Dr. Oz could be perceived after being exposed.
“We feel we should not give the media who looks at Oz like [a] snake oil salesman right now any fodder to further this perception,” warned Sheraton Kalouria, chief marketing officer at Sony Pictures Television.
What do you think about the Dr. Oz controversy? Post your comments below.
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