I don’t think that Dr. Oz had a good time during his visit to D.C. last week. You have probably heard by now about his testimony before the subcommittee on health fraud. The Federal Trade Commission has been cracking down on dieting products with misleading, unsubstantiated and fraudulent claims in their advertising. Finally!!! And some of these products are actually dangerous.
I actually cringe when my clients start off our appointment with “did you see the Dr. Oz show yesterday?” My colleagues everywhere are upset about the things that he says. His program and his name provide a level of visibility that is unsurpassed. And for him to discuss the so-called benefits of a pill-potion-powder as if it actually works, lends an air of absolute credibility. “As seen on Dr. Oz” is a marketing dream that guarantees a product will fly off the shelf. Talk about a halo effect!
Dieting scams are big business and consumers spend millions of dollars each year looking for a quick fix to their weight problems. The Federal Trade commission is responsible for policing advertisements (print, radio, tv, online) and the Food and Drug Administration is responsible for claims made on packaging. In Florida we have a consumer protection law that gives weight loss clients recourse should they be harmed physically or financially by a weight loss counselor.
While Dr. Oz has a team of researchers that put the show together for him, ultimately he has to approve the topics. I get that a show has to get good ratings to stay on the air and sensationalism is a strategy to high Nielson numbers. The weekend articles in regional newspapers are great advice. As a thoracic surgeon he is not a stupid man, and he owes more to his viewers that keep him on the air day-to-day.
I just wonder what took so long.