The lawsuit was recently filed in California by consumers who say they were tricked into buying weight loss pills because Dr. Mehmet Oz - host of The Dr. Oz Show - described “magic ingredients” that would bust fat. Instead, consumers say, the pills had little weight loss value. Although Dr. Oz says he’s not selling any products, the lawsuit claims his special guests are paid spokespeople for some supplement companies.
In 2014, Dr. Oz faced a Senate subcommittee hearing over his endorsement of certain herbal supplements on his widely watched television show. Among the products he mentioned on his show were green coffee extract, raspberry ketone and garcinia cambogia. All three, he touted for weight loss and/or fat-burning properties.
At the hearing, according to The Atlantic (6/18/14), Senator Claire McCaskill called Oz out on the data he used to back up his claims about the herbal supplements, noting that at least one study was based on 16 people in India and was paid for by the company producing the supplement. McCaskill also accused Oz of giving people false hope and making ridiculous claims about the effectiveness of the herbal supplements.
“The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of those three products that you called miracles,” McCaskill said.
Dr. Oz, for his part, noted that he is not paid to recommend the products, he does not sell them, and he does not advocate their long-term use.
But consumers say that’s not good enough, because they claim at least some of the people who have been guests on his show have hidden their ties to the companies they promote. They’re not the only ones upset about the practice. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has also been involved.
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Among the allegations made by the FTC are that Duncan claimed consumers could lose 17 pounds and 16 percent of their body fat in 12 weeks without diet or exercise. Further, Duncan claimed the data was backed up by a scientific study.
And, Duncan reportedly tailored his marketing campaign around his Dr. Oz appearance, encouraging viewers to search for green coffee bean extract - which he sold - online using his own search terms. He allegedly did so while not disclosing that he was financially tied to the companies that would benefit from purchases.
The consumer lawsuit is Veda Woodard v. Lee Labrada et al., case number 2:16-cv-00717, in the US District Court, Central District of California