Popular TV host and Oprah Winfrey protege Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of "The Dr. Oz Show," was on Capitol Hill Tuesday being grilled by senators over the promotion of some questionable weight loss products on his show.
“Sen. Claire McCaskill, chairwoman of the subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance, led the panel that looked at false advertising for weight loss products,” reports CNN
. “Subcommittee members took issue with claims Oz has made on his show about products that don't have a lot of scientific evidence to back them up, such as green coffee beans,” the sellers of which have been sued by the Federal Trade Commission for allegedly deceiving customers with false claims.
McCaskill told Oz, "The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products you called 'miracles.’” She also told Oz she was discouraged by the "false hope" his rhetoric gives viewers and questioned his role, "intentional or not, in perpetuating these scams,” CNN reports.
"I don't get why you need to say this stuff when you know it's not true,” she added. “When you have this amazing megaphone, why would you cheapen your show? ... With power comes a great deal of responsibility."
Oz, who does not endorse products for money, told the committee he uses "flowery language" to describe certain products on his show, but added he believes in them so much he has given them to his own family, CNN reports.
He further defended himself by saying, “My job, I feel, on the show is to be a cheerleader for the audience, and when they don't think they have hope, when they don't think they can make it happen, I want to look, and I do look everywhere, including in alternative healing traditions, for any evidence that might be supportive to them.”
CNN further reports, “He testified that he could not be held responsible for what certain companies say online about the products. He said he's toned down some of his language and will publish a list of products he thinks really can help people lose weight.”
"To not have the conversation about supplements at all however would be a disservice to the viewer," Oz said in a prepared statement after the hearing. "In addition to exercising an abundance of caution in discussing promising research and products in the future, I look forward to working with all those present today in finding a way to deal with the problems of weight loss scams."