Mehmet Oz, the host of "The Dr. Oz Show" on TV may have celebrity status but this did not exclude him from being grilled by policy makers for promoting weight loss products on his show and for his involvement, however unwittingly, with diet and weight loss scams.
On Tuesday, senators questioned Oz for the dubious weight loss products that he promoted on his TV show. In a hearing on false advertising for weight loss products hosted by Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, who chairs the subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance, senators raised issue on the claims that the celebrity surgeon made on his show about "miracle" weight loss products, such as the so called green coffee beans, lack scientific evidence.
McCaskill, in particular, told Oz that she was dismayed that the doctor is giving false hope to viewers for overhyping dubious weight loss products saying that the scientific community disagrees with Oz in terms of the efficacy of the products that he described as miracles.
"I don't get why you need to say this stuff when you know it's not true," McCaskill said. "When you have this amazing megaphone, why would you cheapen your show?... With power comes a great deal of responsibility."
Oz was also questioned for his role in the perpetuation of diet scams regardless if it was intentional or not. Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission sued a Florida company that sells Green Coffee Beans for deceptive marketing using fake news websites and making bogus health claims. The company and several others used a video from the "The Dr. Oz Show" to promote the benefits of Green Coffee Beans.
"When you feature a product on your show, it creates what has become known as 'Oz Effect,' dramatically boosting sales and driving scam artists to pop up overnight using false and deceptive ads to sell questionable products," McCaskill said.
For his part, Oz said that he could not be held responsible for claims made by certain companies but admitted that he did use flowery language when describing products on his show. Nonetheless, he said that he believes in the products so much he has given them to his family.
He also said that he will be more cautious when discussing promising research and products in his show in the future as well as look forward to working with authorities in dealing with weight loss scams.
The growing prevalence of weight problems in the U.S has created a profitable industry of weight loss products and for Americans who are desperate to lose weight, many lay their hope on the efficacy of miracle weight loss products that promise results.