Warning Pennsylvania voters against electing a "phony and a fraud," Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman on Monday took aim at Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz's long history of promoting so-called "miracle" cures for people who want to lose weight or prevent disease—saying the celebrity doctor has endangered millions of viewers over the years.
"For two decades Dr. Oz has just been putting on a show for the cameras, saying whatever will benefit himself personally—regardless of who gets hurt, whether he believes it, or whether it’s even true," said Fetterman, a Democrat who is running against Oz to replace Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). "This is Dr. Oz's record. This is who he is."
Fetterman released his latest statement on his opponent after The Washington Post reported on Oz's history as host of "The Dr. Oz Show" from 2009 to 2021.
As the Post reported, the cardiothoracic surgeon used his platform to promote weight loss techniques including the use of synthetic human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone produced during pregnancy, paired with a diet of just 500 calories per day. He continued to conduct interviews with a weight loss doctor who promoted the hormone even after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that some people had died or experienced blood clots in their lungs or cardiac arrest after injecting themselves with HCG.
"We can't trust a man who has never passed over an opportunity to screw over working people if it meant he made a buck."
While Oz told viewers that there was no proof the hormone worked and advised them to consult a doctor before trying a diet of less than 1,200 calories per day, he concluded that "it's worth trying it."
While peddling questionable medical advice, Fetterman noted, he earned roughly $10 million per year hosting and producing his show.
"Dr. Oz is not just a phony and a fraud, he is a malicious scam artist who knowingly hurt regular people to line his own pockets," said the lieutenant governor, who is beating Oz by an average of about four points in numerous recent polls.
"We can't trust a man who has never passed over an opportunity to screw over working people if it meant he made a buck," he added. "Washington has more than enough grifters who act and vote solely in their own self interest already. Pennsylvania deserves better."
Along with his promotion of HCG, the Post reported, Oz has told his viewers that selenium is the "holy grail of cancer prevention," while numerous medical studies and the National Institutes of Health have warned that high intakes of the mineral can cause "difficulty breathing, tremors, kidney failure, heart attacks, and heart failure." Selenium also is not proven to prevent cancer, according to experts.
Garcinia cambogia, a supplement Oz promised was a "revolutionary fat buster" that can negate the need to exercise and eat healthy food, can also cause liver damage, according to the FDA.
As Common Dreams reported in August, a 2014 study published in The BMJ found that half of the advice Oz dispensed on his show was "baseless or wrong," while researchers at Georgetown University found in 2018 that more than 75% of his guidance "did not align with evidence-based medical guidelines."
The group Real Doctors Against Oz, which has previously spoken out against Oz's promotion of unproven medical advice and his support for forced pregnancy, tweeted Monday that Oz "long ago" abandoned the oath taken by all medical providers "to do no harm."
Oz, said Fetterman, "got famous and rich off of ripping people off."
"Everything he says," he added, "has been a scam to help himself—not the viewers, not the voters."