The Dr. Oz Controversy Explained
If you’ve watched even a little bit of TV in the last decade or so, you’ve probably bumped into Dr. Oz. His rather accurately named “The Dr. Oz Show” has been a syndicated daytime TV mainstay since its debut in 2009. The doctor has been in the game for such a long time that he’s become a pretty familiar face among the public. Per the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Oz is a legitimate heart surgeon, as well as a Medical Director with New York’s Columbia Medical Center. He has numerous accolades, and has appeared on TV and behind the scenes in a number of high-profile roles. Despite all this, it has been pointed out that Dr. Mehmet Oz has something of a shady side, thanks to his flirtation with pseudoscience and unproven medical claims in his TV appearances.
Recently, Dr. Oz has embarked on a brand new adventure by announcing that he’s going for a Senate seat in Pennsylvania (via CNN). Before this new chapter in his life starts creating a whole new host of headlines, let’s take a moment to bring you up to date with a quick recap of Dr. Oz’s most notable previous controversies.
Dr. Oz had drawn plenty of criticism
Due to his nature as a daytime TV host-slash-trained medical professional, it’s possible that controversy was always destined to court Dr. Oz … though the doctor hasn’t exactly been sitting and waiting for this to happen, seeing as he’s been busy courting controversy right back. Over the years, he’s developed a dedicated viewership, and plenty of high-level connections … to the point that then-presidential candidate Donald Trump unveiled his medical records (all two pages of them) during a 2016 campaign trail appearance on “The Dr. Oz Show.” Per CBS News and Science Based Medicine, he’s also known for the so called Dr. Oz Effect, which is effectively what happens when a guest in the doctor’s show is able to boost the sales of whatever product they’re peddling, regardless of its actual medical effectiveness.
When a method of promoting quackery is effectively named after you, there’s a decent chance that the rest of the medical profession takes umbrage. In 2015, this happened to Dr. Oz, when a group of notable doctors called out his association with the University of Columbia, calling out his — quote — “egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.” (via Vox).
Dr. Oz's later controversies
Recent years haven’t been any kinder to Dr. Oz on the controversy front. In 2020, his comments about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic caused a social media outrage, and the doctor — who’d already been involved in controversial coronavirus practices, such as promoting the drug hydroxychloroquine — apologized for his statements (via The Washington Post). Per USA Today, even his “Jeopardy!” guest host stint in 2021 caused an outcry from the show’s fans, some of whom called his involvement “the most disgraceful disrespect to Alex’s [Trebek] legacy.”
For years, the doctor has been able to rely on his show to provide him publicity. However, his bid for politics seems to be changing this, at least in parts of the country. On December 1, 2021, Deadline reported that “The Dr. Oz Show” has been pulled in Pennsylvania — where Dr. Oz plans to run for Senate — and New York, in order to make sure that he doesn’t get unfair air time advantage as opposed to his fellow candidates.