Group Of Doctors Want Dr. Oz Removed From Columbia Medical Faculty For Promoting “Quack Treatments”

Dr. Oz testifying in June 2014 before a Senate consumer protection subcommittee.

Dr. Oz testifying in June 2014 before a Senate consumer protection subcommittee.

Citing what they call repeated “disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine,” a group of physicians has written a letter to Columbia University asking it to remove TV’s Dr. Mehmet Oz from his faculty position there.

Ten doctors signed the letter sent to Lee Goldman, dean of Columbia’s Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine, led by Dr. Henry Miller of California’s Stanford University, reports the Associated Press.

The group writes that Oz, who formerly practiced as a cardiothoracic surgeon before becoming a regular on the Oprah Winfrey show and starting his own brand of TV talk show medicine, “has manifested an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.”

In repeatedly showing “disdain for evidence-based medicine” in pushing “miracle” weight-loss supplements that haven’t been scientifically proven, he has “misled and endangered” the public, the letter says.

Columbia told the AP in a statement only that it “is committed to the principle of academic freedom and to upholding faculty members’ freedom of expression for statements they make in public discussion.”

The AP couldn’t reach Oz for comment.

Last year, Dr. Oz was grilled by Missouri Senator Clair McCaskill, Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection during a hearing about the false and deceptive advertising of weight-loss products.

“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,” the Senator explained. “I’m concerned that you are melding medical advice, news and entertainment in a way that harms consumers.”

Dr. Oz admitted during that hearing that the weight-loss treatments he mentions on the show are frequently “crutches… You won’t get there without diet and exercise,” and that while he believes in the research he’s done, the research done on these treatments would probably not pass FDA muster.

Here’s the letter in full:

“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.

As described here and here, as well as in other publications, 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. Worst of all, he has manifested an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.

Thus, Dr. Oz is guilty of either outrageous conflicts of interest or flawed judgements 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.”

Physicians want Dr. Oz gone from Columbia medical faculty [Associated Press]