Celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz officially announced he would run for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania Tuesday.
Writing in the Daily Beast, a fellow physician said that he has the same amount of enthusiasm for Oz's candidacy as he would with a case of dysentery, the intestinal infection that causes bloody diarrhea.
Dr. Daniel Summers, MD, begged Pennsylvania not to do "this," meaning elect Oz.
"It’s been obvious for years that Oz is more than happy to leverage his reputation as a cardiothoracic surgeon and medical scientist in service to his own celebrity and advancement, and isn’t one to let quaint little things like facts stand in his way," he wrote. "Stroll down a checkout aisle in your local grocery store, and chances are strong you’ll see his smiling face on the cover of a magazine touting some wildly unhealthy weight-loss claim. He’s been promoting pseudoscience on his show for years, from obesity 'remedies' like green coffee and garcinia cambogia to hawking 'homeopathy starter kits,' so this is nothing new."
In fact, Oz faced criticism for hosting a show in which he debated the utility of "reparative therapy" and "forms of therapy that are designed to turn a gay person straight," even though they've been banned by many states at the urging of the American Psychological Association.
In April 2020, Oz also spurred controversy because he said that children should be sent back into schools despite the fact that the novel coronavirus pandemic had only just begun and there were no vaccines or therapeutics yet available.
“I tell you, schools are a very appetizing opportunity,” he said, claiming that resuming classes “may only cost us 2 to 3 percent in terms of total mortality," according to his "reading" of medical journals.
The mistake was so substantial that Oz later provided a kind of half-apology, saying that he "misspoke."
I\u2019ve realized my comments on risks around opening schools have confused and upset people, which was never my intention. I misspoke.pic.twitter.com/Kq1utwiCjR— Dr. Mehmet Oz (@Dr. Mehmet Oz) 1587072030
But what Dr. Summers finds worse is that Oz eagerly pushed treatments like hydroxychloroquine for COVID patients. He even went so far as to push the drug on Fox & Friends. It prompted Dr. Anthony Fauci, a virologist, to explain that the data simply wasn't clear at the time.
“Although there is some suggestion [of effectiveness] with the study that was just mentioned by Dr. Oz . . . I think we’ve got to be careful that we don’t make that majestic leap to assume that this is a knockout drug,” Fauci said at the time. “We still need to do the kinds of studies that definitively prove whether any intervention, not just this one . . . is truly safe and effective.”
The NIH ultimately did study the use of the drug on those suffering from COVID and found that after 14 days of taking the hydroxychloroquine vs. a placebo, there was no difference in the patients.
"Medical misinformation is literally killing people, and it is unconscionable that anyone who should know better would contribute to it. And Oz most certainly should and does know better," said Dr. Summers. "It is telling that Oz would see a space for himself in the Republican primary field. The GOP is riddled with prominent figures who undermine the seriousness of the pandemic, refute the importance of getting vaccinated, and denigrate the public health officials tasked with keeping the American people as safe and healthy as possible. Voters for those people are the ones Oz sees himself capable of wooing. That is the base he will need to capture to make his candidacy a success."