The scientists who published sham research on a useless weight loss supplement once called a “miracle pill” on the Dr. Oz Show have retracted their study.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of the daytime medical show, is an Ivy League-trained heart surgeon who rocketed to fame through the endorsement of Oprah Winfrey. Oz is considered one of the most influential celebrities in America, according to Forbes, and he uses his television show as a platform to promote supposedly healthy products to his fans. But he has come under fire recently for his habit of endorsing weight loss pseudo-drugs with no actual benefits. Plus, many of these drugs may encourage users to give up exercise.
The retracted study purported to validate the sale of Green Coffee Extract, which was once the subject of an entire episode of Oz’s show. A federal agency called the research “hopelessly flawed.” The retraction followed a $3.5 million Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settlement with Applied Food Sciences (AFS), a Texas company that hawked the phony pills. An FTC press release summed up the damning charges against the company and researchers:
The Dr. Oz Show has since removed nearly any hint of support for Green Coffee Extract from its website, including the full episode devoted to its benefits and Oz’s own study of its effects. But a Washington Post report details what was said:
Now, all that remains of those wild claims in the online land of Oz is a short statement that comes up in search — but appears nowhere on the home page. (Also not found on his home page: his congressional testimony on weight loss fraud.)
The implication, as Abby Phillips notes at the Post, is that this is just another example of science taking a wrong turn and then righting itself. But serious scientists rigorously double-check their own work, and correct themselves when they get it wrong.
Oz has the prestigious background to tell good science from quackery. Hopefuly his program will take advantage of that asset in the future.