I have been following the Dr. Oz flap closely but, with all the charges and countercharges, I am unsure where the truth lies (see: Dr. Oz Is No Wizard, but No Quack, Either). Oz has been accused of medical quackery in a letter to the dean of Columbia Medical School but it turns out that some of his accusers may not be so squeaky clean either and have their own agendas (see: The Attack On Dr. Oz Just Backfired In A Big Way). I have been trying to extract some sort of lesson from all of this and so an article by Paul Keckley of Navigant Healthcare caught my attention (see: Dr. Oz’s Odyssey). Here is an excerpt from it that made sense:
The odyssey of Dr. Oz seems a challenge to this entire body of unwritten rules. But it’s unlikely the 3 issues raised will be resolved in this high profile media flap.Dr. Oz is to Millennials what Marcus Welby is to Boomers: a credible clinician with a large, loyal fan-base. But in the end, it falls to consumers to decide who’s right on these tricky issues. Health reform lacking an engaged consumer is likely to fall short. And engaged consumers are paying attention to Dr. Oz and online resources that augment what their clinicians say about not only their diagnoses and treatments but their supplements and food supply as well. They prefer it from their clinicians as part of their coordinated care plan, but in most communities, care coordination is inadequate or reserved only for those in certain health plans that benefit from engaged consumerism across the full continuum of health. Dr. Oz is likely to play and bigger role in how consumers navigate their health and decide who’s right on issues like these. The Oz odyssey fills a void between the information consumers want and what their clinicians choose to share. My hunch is consumers will figure it out for themselves.
if physicians are dubious about some of Dr. Oz's pitches and feel that many of his claims are spurious, they need to get behind their own charismatic spokespeople who can communicate with the broad healthcare consumer audience like him. It's not enough to just take potshots at him from on high. Physicians need to present an alternate set of appealing ideas and proposals. They also need to remember that many people are suspicious about any claims of organized, mainstream medicine. Here is a key paragraph from an article discussing how misguided the letter to the Columbia medical school was and how it has now backfired (see: A publicity stunt against Dr. Oz threatens to backfire spectacularly):
...I’ll go even further and suggest that Miller’s letter [attacking Dr. Oz), after the initial embarrassment it caused Dr. Oz, is probably now seen by him and his producers as a godsend that gives them the pretext to counterattack and to tar all the physicians—not just Dr. Miller and company, but other bloggers, me, and all the rest of us who have been criticizing Dr. Oz for the last five years over his promotion of quackery and pseudoscience—as being industry shills of some kind and to make it stick in the public mind. I’m sure he’ll find a way to go after Julia Belluz over at Vox.com as well, given that her excellent article on the making of Dr. Oz as a quack (my interpretation) was published the same week as Miller’s letter. That’s the narrative Dr. Miller has handed to Dr. Oz on a silver platter.
Columbia University can't be enjoying any of this. Tenured professor or not, the school needs to find some way to put Dr. Oz on the shelf and disassociate him from the school. This should have been done long before now and perhaps it's now too late.