that time it took a comedian to call out top doctor’s fraud

Although I’m a few weeks late to the party, I wanted to share John Oliver’s take-down of Dr. Mehmet Oz on his new show, “Last Week Tonight.” I don’t necessarily agree with everything Oliver says, though I love his eloquence at tackling our nation’s complex science politics, corporations, and risk communication/trust.

I think the only way I can preface this is that John Oliver is the most highly underrated comedian around, because this is pure gold:

I find it incredibly disconcerting that Dr. Oz still has a medical license. Vox’s Julia Belluz analyzed the reasoning behind this in her piece, “Why Dr. Oz can say anything and keep his medical license.” Essentially, her reasons break down to:

  • It’s really difficult to lose your medical license once you’ve “earned” it. “Nothing in Dr. Oz’s conduct is even close to getting the attention of the state boards because they are dealing with sex criminals, alcoholics, and gross misconduct,” says Harvard University professor David Jones.
  • American Medical Association guidelines for handling deceiving treatments with no scientific basis only applies to “nonscientific practitioners,” not actual MDs.
  • …Not to mention that the AMA is a voluntary membership organization.
  • The New York State Department of Health has guidelines that “Prevent physicians from falsely advertising their own goods and services … not from making bogus claims about other people’s goods and services, with no financial interest.”
  • Columbia University claims “Freedom of Speech”
  • “The government can’t do anything since Oz isn’t technically selling the products he talks about.”

Back to John Oliver’s brilliant suggestion to re-name Oz’s show: “Check this shit out with a guy named Mehmet.” It’s a shame such a talented, relatable doctor has found himself in the throes of the cable television cycle…not to mention the faulty regulatory and science/health systems in this country. It’s also a shame that it takes a comedian to call this out, because Americans have significantly more trust in their “doctor” than in “science.” Thoughts?


(Featured image via YouTube)

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