Written by Julia Conley for CommonDreams
Highlighting Dr. Mehmet Oz’s spreading of Covid-19 misinformation and his history of dispensing what one study found to be “baseless” medical advice, several Pennsylvania doctors joined Democratic Senate candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman on Wednesday in warning that electing Oz to the U.S. Senate would “endanger Pennsylvanians’ health.”
Drs. Val Arkoosh of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, Marcelle Shapiro of Perelman School of Medicine, and Lisa Perriera of the Women’s Centers were joined by Fetterman surrogate state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-181) at a press conference at City Hall in Philadelphia, launching a statewide “Real Doctors Against Oz” campaign.
Fetterman and the physicians are not claiming that Oz, a retired heart surgeon who is running for Senate as a Republican, is not a “real doctor”—but instead denouncing his “history of peddling debunked supplements, dangerous fad diets, and fake miracle cures,” his financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, and his support for “Republican efforts to ban abortion in Pennsylvania, endangering the lives of women.”
“Not only has Oz palled around with big pharma and promoted their products on his show, but we also know that he’s invested in some of the same companies that are raking in billions while helping to drive up the cost of medication and force families to ration their insulin doses,” said Arkoosh. “When his pharma buddies make money, Oz makes money. Oz simply doesn’t care about the health of Pennsylvanians.”
The physicians discussed Oz’s long career as a celebrity doctor who hosted a TV show for 13 seasons before pivoting to a political career in 2021.
As a study published in 2014 in The BMJ found, half of the advice Oz gave out on his show was “baseless or wrong,” and researchers at Georgetown University found in 2018 that more than three-quarters of his recommendations “did not align with evidence-based medical guidelines.”
The doctors also condemned Oz’s comparison of vaccine mandates “to forced sterilization and lobotomies” and his claim that vaccines against Covid-19 are not “true” vaccines, as well as his defense of discredited Covid-19 treatments like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.
“As physicians, we take a pledge to do no harm, as part of our Hippocratic oath,” said Shapiro. “We absolutely cannot trust him to have the best interests of the health of the people of Pennsylvanians and for our country.”
The Real Doctors Against Oz is led by “members of the Pennsylvania medical community communicating their distrust of Dr. Oz, the threat he poses to Pensylvanians as quack doctor and fraud—not trusted by real medical professionals—who has always and will always put enriching himself above all else even if it means endangering people’s health,” said the group.
In addition to pushing ineffective and hazardous treatments for Covid-19, Oz has spent years promoting the use of diet products such as “green coffee bean extract as a miracle fat-burning pill that works for everyone,” the Federal Trade Commission said in 2014. Such claims led both Republicans and Democrats on a Senate committee to “scold” Oz, Real Doctors Against Oz said.
On social media on Wednesday, Fetterman shared several clips of Oz promoting “magic” products “that let you lose weight without diet or exercise.”
“He has no problem spreading misinformation if it helps him make money,” said Fetterman of Oz’s claim that he intends to “take on” Big Pharma as a senator, despite investing heavily in the industry.
“Oz has ALWAYS put profits above the health and well-being of others,” Fetterman added.
As he frequently has in recent months, the lieutenant governor added a meme poking fun at Oz for owning a home in New Jersey, as well as an image of Vince Offer, who starred in infomercials selling an absorbent cloth called ShamWow.
“ShamWow guy + stethoscope = Dr. Oz,” tweeted Fetterman.
This article was republished under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).