“The Dr. Oz Show,” which has come under fire from physicians and politicians for promoting “miracle” cures with no evidence, will launch a new weekly segment on the connections between spirituality and health that veers, once again, into the territory of miracles.
Christian author and motivational speaker Priscilla Shirer and several pastors will join Oz for “Faithful Fridays.”
Among the topics to be explored: “Miraculous medical recoveries only God can explain,” according to a press release from the show.
Such claims are bound to raise eyebrows. Medical experts caution that there isn’t scientific evidence to back up the dramatic claims of faith healers to cure disease.
When STAT asked whether the show’s host, Dr. Mehmet Oz, would temper segments on faith healing by including skepticism from medical experts, as he has on occasion in the past, a spokeswoman for the show responded: “Can you clarify what you mean by skepticism because that doesn’t sounds completely accurate?” She did not respond to further requests for information.
Oz has impressive medical credentials: He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania medical school and has been a professor in Columbia University’s department of surgery since 2001.
But he’s opened himself to criticism for embracing some fringe scientific views and hosting questionable experts on his show.
Back in 2011, Dr. Oz did a series on Issam Nemeh, a self-proclaimed faith healer who treated patients with acupuncture, prayer, and “infra-ray light,” among other treatments.
Criticism of Oz exploded after he used his show to promote a product called green coffee bean extract as a weight-loss “miracle.” The product was peddled by supplement marketer and frequent show guest Lindsey Duncan, who had a financial stake in the companies making the extract.
However, the study that Duncan used as evidence was retracted. An investigation by the Federal Trade Commission ensued, and ultimately, Duncan agreed to pay $9 million to settle with consumers who’d purchased the product.
In a Senate hearing on consumer protections in June 2014, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) told Oz she was concerned that he was “melding medical advice, news, and entertainment in a way that harms consumers.”
Some of Oz’s peers in the medical community have grown fed up with him, too. In April 2015, a group of doctors sent a letter to the dean of Columbia’s medical school saying it was “unacceptable” for Oz to maintain his faculty appointment.
“He has manifested an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain,” the letter read.
Columbia responded that faculty members had were free to express themselves in the public sphere.
Oz most recently grabbed the spotlight by when then-candidate Donald Trump came on his show to disclose results of his most recent physical.