‘Magic’ slimming pills and Covid remedies: Dr Oz under the microscope
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Dr Oz admitted to senators that his claims “often lack the scientific strength to be presented as fact.” A study he cited on green coffee bean extract was later withdrawn and described by federal regulators as “hopelessly flawed.” The supplier of the extract paid $ 3.5 million to settle the Federal Trade Commission charges.
Dr David Gorski, a Wayne State University professor of surgery and longtime alternative medicine critic, said Dr Oz’s emergence as Fox News’ authority on the coronavirus came as no surprise to him.
“He could have tried to be more reasonable and careful, checking the information, trying to reassure people where the science was still pending,” Dr Gorski said. “But of course that wouldn’t be Dr. Oz’s mark.”
At the start of the pandemic on March 20, 2020, Dr Oz appeared on several Fox News shows trumpeting what he called “massive, massive news” – a small study by a divisive French researcher, Dr Didier Raoult, who has claimed 100 percent cure rate after treating coronavirus patients with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, or Z-Pak.
At the time, as Covid-19 cases and deaths rose rapidly, the antimalarial treatment hydroxychloroquine was being studied in several countries and adopted by hospitals without much evidence. Mr. Trump has repeatedly touted it at White House press conferences as part of his efforts to minimize the crisis. Dr Oz has contacted Trump advisers to speed up approval of the drug to treat Covid. On March 28, the FDA cleared its emergency use.
On Fox, Dr Oz noted that the Raoult study, with just 36 participants, was not a clinical trial, but his enthusiasm exceeded his caution. The study was “the most impressive news on this entire pandemic front,” he said.
On April 1, as Dr Oz called on New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to lift restrictions on hydroxychloroquine, public health expert Dr Ashish Jha of Brown University warned viewers of Fox that “the facts are simply not known”. on drugs.
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