Dr. Mehmet Oz, celebrity doctor and host of “The Dr. Oz Show” since 2009 is no stranger to controversy. In 2014 he appeared before Congress where he admitted that weight loss products he’s endorsed “Don’t pass scientific muster.”
This week ten prominent national physicians, led by Dr. Henry Miller of Stanford University, sent a letter to Columbia University’s Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine noting that:
“Dr. Oz is guilty of either outrageous conflicts of interest or flawed judgements about what constitutes appropriate medical treatments, or both…members of the public are being misled and endangered, which makes Dr. Oz’s presence on the faculty of a prestigious medical institution unacceptable.” (Text of the letter can be found here.)
A graduate of Harvard University and both the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine and their Wharton School, Dr. Oz has been on the faculty of Columbia University since 2001, where he serves as professor at the Department of Surgery; he also directs the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
The nine other doctors from across the country included Dr. Joel Tepper, a cancer researcher from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, and Dr. Gilbert Ross of the American Council on Science and Health in New York City.
In a recent The New Yorker article subtitled “Is the most trusted doctor in America doing more harm than good?” Dr. Oz is quoted as saying:
“Medicine is a very religious experience…I have my religion and you have yours. It becomes difficult for us to agree on what we think works, since so much of it is in the eye of the beholder. Data is rarely clean….You find the arguments that support your data and it’s my fact versus your fact.”
Richard Bensinger, MD says
Columbia is in a difficult spot here. Ethically the complaining docs are correct and he is disgrace to a fine institution. But: if they dismiss him, they will spend the next several years in court facing well financed OZ attorneys who will find Columbia guilty of defamation, conflict of interest and a huge loss in income. I am sure they are discussing this with their lawyers. Probably what they should do is meet with him, discuss the issues and get him to agree to not use Columbia as a title or as authority when he peddles his snake oil, but allow him to retain the faculty position and his Columbia based practice as an independent item from his celebrity practice.