Thursday, February 13, 2014

Is Dr. Oz A Paid Spokesperson For Products? Want To Be His Trusted Partner?



Before I answer the questions in the title above, I'd like to address why I keep writing about Dr. Oz.  The basic reason is because people follow his advice, which I believe can be detrimental to their health, if not a waste of their money.  If he stuck to topics in which he either had expertise or acknowledged lack of certain knowledge thereof, I would never write about him again.  But as long as he keeps misleading people with misinformation under the pretense of good science, I will keep pointing it out.

People often wonder if Dr. Oz is paid for promoting products. On his show's website, under the heading of "My Name for Profit? Not Anymore. by Mehmet Oz, MD," it reads "I am not and have never been a paid spokesperson for any particular brand, supplement or product."  That would seem to be a definitive answer.

However, if one digs a little deeper, one will find the following companies and products, among others, listed below, that are included in his website as "Trusted Partners" under a banner that reads "OZ WATCH, INTEGRITY & ACTION:  


One note of interest--there is only one company within each category of retail product listed as a trusted partner. For example, there is Walgreens, but not CVS. Schiff but not LEF. 

Nevertheless, I wondered how one becomes a Dr. Oz Show "Trusted Partner?"  So I wrote the show to ask, and alas, three weeks later, I have yet to receive a response.

Although, I cannot say for certain whether or not Dr. Oz is paid directly by any of these companies to represent them on the show, I have both seen them mentioned on the show and watched advertisements for them during commercials. In fact, an Omron product was featured on today's episode with the company name clearly displayed and there was a commercial for Eucerin today as well.

Would indirect payments make him a paid spokesperson?  Is there a criteria we can use to define what is considered paid?  I like to use the Federal Law kickback criteria that states that compensation is considered if it is direct, or indirect, cash or in kind. In other words, there are different ways to get paid, but in the end, no matter how you get rewarded, its still the same.  If it quacks like a duck...

Dr. Oz is paid to appear on his show. The money to pay him presumably comes from revenue the show generates.  Revenue comes from both paid commercials and other sources.  Based on prudent principles of economics, I believe, but cannot say for certain, that a company pays or gives some other form of inducement to be a "Trusted Partner" on a nationally televised daily show.

Therefore, would you agree that it is reasonable to conclude that Dr. Oz is being disingenuous to claim that he is not a paid spokesperson or does not endorse brand products through his show when they are clearly displayed on his website?  

I wonder what it takes to become a trusted partner?  I hope it's worth it. 

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