I was in a health food store the other day looking for some obscure supplement. It was completely sold out. Apparently (I was told), Dr. Oz had just promoted it on his show. It immediately sold out. Who knew? Well, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill did! Yesterday at a Senate hearing,
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today took aim at weight-loss diet scams that she said represent "a crisis in consumer protection"-using a hearing in the Consumer Protection panel that she leads to pose tough questions to popular TV host Dr. Mehmet Oz on his frequent claims about "miracle" products.…
McCaskill questioned Dr. Oz about his role, "intentional or not-in perpetuating these scams," quoting three specific examples of statements Dr. Oz has previously made on his program:
- "You may think magic is make believe, but this little bean has scientists saying they've found the magic weight loss cure for every body type. It's green coffee extract."
- "I've got the number one miracle in a bottle to burn your fat. It's raspberry ketone."
- "Garcinia cambogia: It may be the simple solution you've been looking for to bust your body fat for good."…
Oz defended his endorsement of green coffee beans-citing a clinical study which McCaskill criticized as being funded by the product's manufacturer-and also defended the featuring of alternative medicines on his show, including the "power of prayer." "Well, but prayer's free," McCaskill countered. "You don't have to buy prayer."
Bingo. Forget about Dr. Oz miracles for the moment. How about other revenue generators that exploit the public's yearning to get healthy, like food you buy because it’s advertised as “natural”? Silly you.
Two-thirds of Americans think the world "natural" on the label of a packaged or processed food means it contains no artificial ingredients, pesticides or genetically engineered organisms, …
When consumers see the word on meat or poultry, 70% think it means no growth hormones were used in the animals feed and 60% think the animals got no antibiotics or other drugs in their feed.
The problem is, consumers are wrong.
Under federal labeling rules, the word natural means absolutely nothing.
Back to miracles. The Wall Street Journal just ran an story about “a new, less-invasive heart-valve procedure that is in high demand, but is relatively unproven for many patients.” It’s a “transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR.” One hospital system in North and South Dakota “ran an ad campaign last year touting catheter valves as 'the medical equivalent to landing a man on the moon.'" That’s a miracle!
Unfortunately, the procedure is apparently being overused and “performed on people for whom it isn't approved.” One reason? “Hospital administrators may feel pressure to offer the procedure to gain market share against competing health facilities.…” And, “though the procedure itself isn't always profitable for the hospital, the tests done in preparation—such as echocardiograms and CAT scans—help make up for lost revenue.” Phew, am I right?
Then there’s the story this week about “power morcellators,” a miracle medical device being pushed by gynecologists on women who thought (i.e., were told) they had fibroids and other problems, but actually had cancer. This device accelerated the cancer.
Soft-spoken and private, Linda Interlichia isn't comfortable being in the public eye. But the Rochester, N.Y., woman made an unlikely turn to activism after she underwent a routine hysterectomy in October and learned she had aggressive cancer.
Her oncologist believes her early-stage uterine sarcoma, mistakenly diagnosed as a common benign growth called a fibroid, was accelerated to advanced disease by a device called a power morcellator. The doctor who performed the procedure declined to comment.…
She is one of hundreds of people nationwide who are starting to make their personal experiences public in an unusual debate about whether an approved medical device should be banned.
I don’t know what kind of revenue stream this device generates for gynecologists - but if it’s an issue, I sure hope Senator McCaskill hears about it.