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Dr. Oz's Comeuppance

You mean, there's no magic, over-the-counter, weight loss pill? But, I sold my treadmill . . . .

Seriously, I can't be the only 'hound who found it nice to see hyperbolic hucksterism called out. Could we hope to see a future reduction in the passion of pop health pitches? Science before celebrity?

E.g. http://www.theatlantic.com/health/arc...

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  1. I saw Dr. Oz getting publicly flogged before the Senate on the news last night. It made me smile.

    Apparently his miracle green coffee bean magic pill was nothing more than snake oil and he knew it. The funny thing is that most of us knew it all along too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jpc8015

      A pill is just a pill, and a shill is just a shill.

    2. Hi, MGZ:

      I'm NOT defending Oz or weight-loss hucksterism, but there is a scientific basis for the 3 claims attacked by Sen. McCaskill.

      Citizens need to be aware that there are many, many politicians who eagerly do Big Pharma's bidding. And one item near the top of Pharma's wish list is the strict regulation of nutritional supplements. Why? If they can prevent herbalists and health food stores from selling you naturally-derived (read not patentable) products, e.g., hibiscus tea for high blood pressure, they can sell far more of their patented drugs.

      Personally, I prefer some hucksterism of the kind exemplified by Oz to a Big Pharma monopoly on nutriceuticals.


      34 Replies
      1. re: kaleokahu

        Dr. Oz is a charlatan. There is no magic bullet for a healthy life.

        I, on the other hand, have developed a failsafe weight loss plan that is guaranteed to work or your money back. I will give it to you for free right now.

        Burn more calories than you consume.

        1. re: jpc8015

          Um, not exactly. Your body metabolizes sugar differently than other calories. A calorie is not a calorie (i.e. not all calories are treated the same by our liver).

          Conventional wisdom is sometimes incorrect, and the conventional wisdom that says all calories are equal is a myth that serves the aims of the processed food industry.

          1. re: Josh

            Dude, if I consume 2,000 calories each and every day for a year and I burn 2,500 calories each and every day for a year. I will lose weight. You can too or your money back.

            1. re: jpc8015

              That's true enough, but simplistic. It doesn't begin to get at the cause of the obesity epidemic and what to do about it.

              1. re: jpc8015

                Dude, the research into obesity, metabolic syndrome, and the way our livers metabolize sugars, specifically fructose, is clear. When the liver encounters fructose in sufficient quantity it tells the pancreas to produce insulin which triggers fat storage instead of burning of those calories.

                The "all calories are the same" myth is a pernicious one.

                I suggest looking into the work of Dr. Robert Lustig, who is a pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF. It's eye opening.

                1. re: Josh

                  The work of Lustig is very controversial in the scientific community (just google or better use pubmed). If your only argument against "a calorie is a calorie" is the work of Lustig than you should expand your reading to other scientific journals and studies. Even today the science is not clear about the "conversion" between different "types" of calories (fat vs carbo etc). Marion Nestle's book "Why calories count" is actually a good starting point with some references.

                  1. re: honkman

                    I'm looking on pubmed but having trouble finding what you're referring to. Do you have an example?

                    1. re: Josh

                      I am refering for example to papers about the complexity of (clinical) studies to measure the impact of calories from different sources and if all calories are equal. I will try to look up some later but you should really read the Nestle book, e.g. chapter 19 has the title "Are all calories created equal" (Short answer based on today's research yes)

                    2. re: honkman

                      I'm not saying everything is settled, but Dr. Lustig's take on the problem of controlling weight gain is the first out of countless weight-loss schemes over the past several decades that makes any sense to me as a scientifically trained person. Most weight-loss diets are just flim-flam, and Dr. Lustig at least has tried to establish a scientific basis and put his theory before his peers for review.

                      The experts can sort it all out but I'm not waiting. I'm well into my sixties and don't have time. I gained a lot of weight in my fifties and was technically obese. I don't want to go back there. I'm following Dr. Lustig by eliminating, as far as is practical, all added sugar (in whatever form) and I'm getting good results.

                      1. re: GH1618

                        Me too. His observations about obesity in infants seem pretty hard to refute.

                        1. re: GH1618

                          Nobody argues that cutting sugary drinks (and foods) out of the regular diet will help to lower weight but there is little scientific evidence that this is in any way the best or most effective way or if simply calorie counting and higher output than input is the best (and simplest) way

                          1. re: honkman

                            "Nobody argues that cutting sugary drinks (and foods) out of the regular diet will help to lower weight but there is little scientific evidence that this is in any way the best or most effective way"
                            I don't much feel like spending an hour digging up links to studies, but I do suggest you watch Dr Lustig's first big presentation on sugar and metabolism as a jumping off point, because he makes a fairly compelling case (despite employing a little rhetoric and maybe some hyperbole):

                            "...or if simply calorie counting and higher output than input is the best (and simplest) way"
                            There's no reason you can't do both. There's no known medical benefits of ingesting added sugars (for the sake of this post, we'll exempt the sugars found in whole fruits and vegetables) outside of a few specific situations (hypoglycemia, recovery from extreme workouts, etc).

                            The upside of cutting out, say, sugary drinks, candy, and dessert as opposed to cutting out, say, fat (as was popular in the last big diet trend) is that there is ample historical reason to believe that cutting out added sugars at least won't do you any harm.

                            1. re: cowboyardee

                              And of course you have to do both. You can't eliminate added sugars then pig out on other calories and expect to lose weight. Dr. Lustig's point is that eliminating the sugar makes it easier to reduce the total caloric intake.

                            2. re: honkman

                              I disagree that there is "little" scientific evidence. There may not be enough for scientific consebsus, but there's enough for me.

                            3. re: GH1618

                              It's been common scientific knowledge for over 100 years that not all calories are metabolically equal.

                              I forget which American polar explorers volunteered to replicate, in controlled conditions, the diet of all fat similar to seal blubber and pemmican. In hospital and bed-ridden, these guys ate nothing but butter--and thousands of calories of it every day--for an extended period of time, and they all lost weight.

                              Bodybuilders have known for decades how to manipulate their insulin responses by structuring the composition of their meals. Protein+Fat and Carbs+Protein meals (avoiding Fat+Carbs) is only the crudest method. Compounds such as HMB allow for simultaneously adding lean mass and burning body fat.
                              These things and more would be impossible if "a calorie is just a calorie".


                            4. re: honkman

                              It's not limited to Lustig; different macronutrients stimulate different hormonal changes post meal. Other hormones are different from person to person and even within the same person under different conditions. Marion Nestle is all wrong on calories. They count, but some are much more fattening than others.

                          2. re: jpc8015

                            Where it could theoretically make a difference is if the diet you have changes your metabolism and fat / muscle composition. Such that doing the same daily activities results in a different calorie burn. Then the idea that a calorie is just a calorie may not be true.

                            1. re: FattyDumplin

                              If it doesn't work for you then you get your money back.

                      2. re: kaleokahu

                        That's cool. I'm anti-bully pulpit abuse in all forms.

                        1. re: MGZ

                          FWIW, Oz irritates me a lot. Congress and the lobbyists who pay them irritate me a lot more.

                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            Don't get me started. I spent seven years at ground zero regarding healthcare reform and how significantly the big insurers influence the legislation passed/not passed. I was in the inner circle with big insurers. It's sickening and I'm glad I'm finally out.

                            Anyway, I think Oz tries but has been sucked up by the celebrity thing. As he said, he's trying to appeal to a broad range of folks.

                            1. re: breadchick

                              Sounds like we have similar experiences with Big Pharma. As a former PR professional in the healthcare/biotech/pharma industry
                              I have to laugh when people talk about the ACA as a socialist plot.

                              Oz long gave up his creds as a scientist or a physician. He is an entertainer and apparently up for sale to the highest bidder. Either that or he really doesn't understand science at all.

                              1. re: chicgail

                                Lol. I threw a potential marketing career out the window because I refused to accept interviews with the drug companies. I called them out on their sales practices in front of a room full of MBA's and they were still willing to give me an interview. I just couldn't do it. And that was a few years before I was diagnosed with a chronic illness that has left me permanently at their mercy. (Can you say $400/mo. for one prescription WITH insurance? I knew you could.)

                                1. re: rockycat

                                  There is a lot of variation from one insurance plan to another with respect to drug coverage. I think most will agree that there are great inequities in the way health care is distributed in the US. We are far behind many countries in this area. But the policies needed to fix it are socialistic, and Americans are wary of socialism, even in its mildest forms and even when applied to an area of such obvious need. It's an aspect of our culture that goes far beyond the pharmaceutical companies.

                                  1. re: GH1618

                                    Let's just leave it at the fact that I have no desire to get into anyone's definition of socialism or the relative merits of any healthcare plan on this board.

                                  1. re: chicgail

                                    He's still a reportedly highly skilled heart surgeon. The rest is crap.

                                    1. re: mcf

                                      If he is such a highly skilled heart surgeon, how come he has apparently chosen entertainment over medicine? When was the last time he actually practiced medicine, let alone operated on anyone? And why in the world ($$$) is he endorsing highly questionable nutritional supplements about which he knows very little.

                                      As a person with a long career in health care public relations, I have known plenty of physicians who were happy to sell out to the highest bidder and I have had clients who wanted me to buy the likes of Oz or Nancy Snyderman to endorse their services. It's why I don't do that any more.

                                      1. re: chicgail

                                        He's an actively practicing heart surgeon. I'm not defending him, he clearly craves the attention. But he's a very highly regarded heart surgeon.

                                        BTW, when I said the rest is crap, I meant his TV and nutrition stuff.

                                        1. re: chicgail

                                          Besides the money and fame perks perhaps he is securing a second career path for when he retires from cardiothoracic surgery. He was still doing surgery as recently as 5 years ago when he operated on a friend’s MIL. She was told she needed a heart transplant but refused to have the surgery unless Oz was her surgeon because he was the only one she trusted (she’s a little crazy like that). Calling in old favors, her son managed to get her an appointment with Oz who ultimately did her transplant.

                                          1. re: EM23

                                            It doesn't really matter what I think, but it appears that he should stick to thoracic surgery.

                                        2. re: mcf

                                          MplsM ary helpfully listed a link to an article in the New Yorker from last year that profiled Dr. Oz. I now know much more about "America's Doctor" than I did before, which was nothing.

                                          The most telling paragraph re: Dr. Oz's career as a heart surgeon follows, as the writer of the article interviews Dr. Eric Rose*:

                                          <I asked if he would place his confidence in a heart surgeon, no matter how gifted, who operated just once a week, as Oz does. “Well,” he replied, “in general you want a surgeon who lives and breathes his job, somebody who is above all devoted to that.” Again he mentioned Oz’s experience, but when I asked if he would send a patient to Oz for an operation, he looked uncomfortable. “No,” he said. “I wouldn’t. In many respects, Mehmet is now an entertainer. And he’s great at it. People learn a lot, and it can be meaningful in their lives. But that is a different job. In medicine, your baseline need has to be for a level of evidence that can lead to your conclusions. I don’t know how else you do it. Sometimes Mehmet will entertain wacky ideas—particularly if they are wacky and have entertainment value.”>

                                          *< In 1984, Rose made history when he performed the first successful pediatric heart transplant. He hired Oz in 1986 and then, several years later, when he served as chairman of the surgical department at New York-Presbyterian, assigned him to his transplant team.>

                                          If someone is going to hold my life, literally, in his hands, I want that person to be dedicated to medicine and surgery, to have done the operation hundreds, even thousands of times. I want him current, well-practiced, and sure. A part-time surgeon isn't what I need...or want.

                                          1. re: mcsheridan

                                            I have no way of evaluating Oz's credentials nor his skill. I'd say he has enough procedures under his belt at this time in his career for that not to be an issue. But focus, yeah, that could be a problem or it could be no problem.

                                            A lot of those extremely full time surgeons mess up, or have no interest in their patients as people, nor empathy.

                                            There are always tradeoffs. I have not heard of issues among Oz's patients. I don't really care, either. He's too cute by half for me, period.

                                      2. re: breadchick

                                        If you look at the clips for those episodes of his show, he was a shameless carnival barker for those products. Not "flowery" language as he tried to paint it, but pure flim flam come ons.

                                2. Dr. Oz is a smart guy, and it takes a certain amount of courage for him to discuss some of the less-than-mainstream medicine he often talks about on his show, but the incessant focus on weight loss and the hyperbolic pitching you mention just ruin everything.

                                  He's clearly been coached to present himself as a sunny rah-rah personality when he's not, and to make things suuuuuuper simmmmmple for the TV audience, but he dumbs things down so much they get distorted.

                                  On the other hand, I think it's typically hypocritical that Congress is taking up arms against some guy talking about natural remedies that have been used for centuries, when they let big pharmaceutical companies hawk dangerous, faultily-tested drugs designed for far more serious medical conditions all day long.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: ninrn

                                    See, I think he is that shallow and his recommendations are not well researched and do not withstand scrutiny. He is dumbed down on nutrition and supplement topics.

                                    I think he should stick to surgery, but not enough publicity for him.

                                    1. re: ninrn

                                      It's not that he's pitching "natural remedies" it's that he's making claims that he admitted to Congress he doesn't believe. I don't care what it is you're pitching, if you don't believe the claims you're making, you're just a con artist.

                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                        He tried to say he had to be "flowery" (more like sensational and enthused) to drum up audience response.

                                        Because his having a show is more important than personal integrity. I mean, if that's what you feel you have to do to have a show, maybe you should turn your focus to something else?

                                        1. re: mcf

                                          Yeah, I saw that. He should tell his viewers that: don't believe what I'm saying, I'm just using "flowery language" to keep your attention. :-)

                                        2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                          I just watched 16 minutes of John Oliver (Last Week Tonight) skewering and verbally pantsing Dr. Oz, Congress (both parties), lobbyists, the FDA, and a few other entities. Absolutely brilliant! Plus it has a tap dancing Steve Buscemi and a puppy. ;-)


                                      2. i ddint' see this anywhere, but has he been paid or compensated in any way for these endorsements? i've personally never liked oz, nor oprah or any of her sycophants, for that matter.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: FattyDumplin

                                          I don't believe Oz has endorsed, nor has he been compensated, particularly in association with this green coffee elixir.

                                          1. re: monavano

                                            watching his show is all the endorsement he will even need.

                                          2. re: FattyDumplin

                                            Anyone who continues to listen to or believe Dr. Oz's hyperbolic deserves being conned and no Congressional hearing will help. And I'm with you on Oprah and her self-promotion of how great she is.

                                          3. Any pushback against quackery is good, but this seems like a rare and rather modest effort. Anti-science attitudes are widespread in the US and I don't see the things changing much anytime soon. The fight against ignorance is never-ending.

                                            56 Replies
                                            1. re: GH1618

                                              Is there a fight against the ignorance of American doctors regarding diet and vitamin and herbal therapies?

                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                I think it's called cash. Folks willing to pay cash can find doctors with all manner of enlightenment.

                                                I think folks who want to use their leveraged medical benefits get just that.

                                                I could be wrong.

                                                1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                  Not so. Been doing it for years. Still a very tough slog.

                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                    Me too. 30 years in last month.Husband too, and many of my freinds and coworkers. And in a variety of settings.

                                                    In my private practice, I have to think about who is my customer. When the check comes from an insurance company, in addition to providing my best of the standard of care, I also have to keep in mind what that insurer wants to see documented for a billing code. I could and do do more, when time allows. When the patient is the only customer, aside from the standard of care, I only have her to answer to. If she wants time to talk about the pros and cons of other things, and doesn't need me to factor in "networks", formularies, priot auths, and uncovered benefits, I'm all in.

                                                    Don't even get me started with the staff model HMO, or County Health services.

                                                    Not true for you? Maybe we should"talk" on Medscape.

                                                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                      I don't disagree with your points in terms of the benefits of practice for both practitioner and patient outside the insurance strait jacket.

                                                      I disagree that there are doctors of all manner of enlightenment to be had for the most part. And I'm not joking.

                                                      Enlightenment is in Very Short Supply, IME. Even at tens of thousands unreimbursed, out of pocket.

                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                        And perhaps in short demand! I think it will increase, and does incresse where the market will bear.

                                                        But we may not all agree on what enlightenment is.

                                                        1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                          To me, enlightenment is when the medical establishment does an about face and begins to view their work as that of assisting people in becoming healthy, rather than as having a symptom-squashing, single-symptom, quick-fix without regard to consequences, let's just cut it or drug it and move 'em on out attitude.

                                                          Enlightenment comes when power is removed from pharmaceutical and insurance and processed food companies.

                                                          Enlightenment comes when it is generally understood that we truly are what we eat.

                                                          EDIT: Oh, and more stuff, too, ha. That's just off the top of my head.

                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                            I agree Sandy, sort of. Might we have to tend to the sick, with pre existing conditions first?

                                                            Enlightenment is not just about what the best of us want, but also about what the least of us "need".

                                                            Yes; bla, bla, bla about who is at fault.

                                                            Or maybe it's about the world cup! See ya!

                                                          2. re: Shrinkrap

                                                            I'd start with knowledge enough to do no harm and accountability for one's practices. And doing due due diligence, not practicing from a consensus guideline cookbook.

                                                            Really basic stuff. And many of the worst have been dept chiefs in prestigious academic practices, IME..

                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                              Uh oh.....1-0

                                                              But I was responding to a post that said " Is there a fight against the ignorance of American doctors regarding diet and vitamin and herbal therapies?"

                                                              Not sure thats a "do no harm/accountability" issue.

                                                              Back to the game!

                                                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                It does, say, when they tell diabetics to eat a diet of mostly starchy carbs, for example. Not supported by clinical outcomes nor unbiased research. Causes amputations, kidney failure, and vision loss, for starters. Serious harm.

                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                  " when they tell diabetics to eat a diet of mostly starchy carbs,"

                                                                  I have read that here before, but never anywhere in real life. And never on a medical forum. I wonder if it could be a regional thing.

                                                                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                    More likely, it is just not representative, perhaps only based on the experience of a few people. Medical doctors, like all professionals, keep up with the developments in their field. To belittle the profession as a class because of one's own experience is just a cheap shot.

                                                                    When one's primary care physician cannot treat an illness effectively (according to the standard of care), then either a specialist or a new PCP may be necessary. When treatment of one's illness demands a special diet, there are other resources, for example the American Diabetic Association.

                                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                                      The American Diabetic Association’s recommendations for “best choices” for a diabetic include whole grain breads, oatmeal, potatoes, brown rice, etc.


                                                                      1. re: EM23

                                                                        I didn't get a chance to read the whole thing (patients waiting!), but on that page it says

                                                                        "One thing is for sure.....IF...... you are going to eat grain foods, pick the ones that are the most nutritious. Choose whole grains. Whole grains are rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber. .

                                                                        You left out the IF, and the part leading up to it. Like this page where they specifically mention NON starchy vegetables.


                                                                        And here is their link to "Standards of Care', that mentions glucose monitoring.


                                                                        I didn't see the part where the "diabetes educators tell diabetics not to test at one hour post meal" and "wait til two hours, when the glucose has cleared", but I did not read it all.

                                                                        Okay, this time I'm done for real!

                                                                        1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                          That’s why I included the link to the article, and while I get your point about “if”, most folks scan through articles on the web and that article has a list of foods that includes spuds and bread labelled as “best choices” for a diabetic diet.
                                                                          My mom was a diabetic and when she was released from a stay at the hospital she was visited by a nutritionist who advised a diet with whole grains and specifically suggested oatmeal and whole wheat bread as breakfast choices.

                                                                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                            Obviously, one of us has had a great deal of information from many years of managing and researching diabetes and the implementation of clinical guidelines and the other is googling for argument's sake.

                                                                            My information comes from 16 years of scouring the literature, following the organizations scandalous ties to industry and recommendations to include sugar in diabetic diets because it does no more harm than grains. Big time sugar industry sponsorships and lobbying and all.

                                                                            One of us has been communicating with literally hundreds of diabetics in person and onine for many years and has reversed diabetic damage to kidneys and nerve function for over a decade by doing the direct opposite of what the consensus guidelines recommend.

                                                                          2. re: EM23

                                                                            Then that would be an appropriate place to take the discussion, or to start a new thread in the "Special Diets" forum here. The "comeuppance" of Dr. Oz had to do with his weight-loss advice, not his advice to diabetics, as I understand it.

                                                                            1. re: GH1618

                                                                              When I listened to a bit of the hearing I believe he said something regarding new information about food recommendations for diabetics informing his advice going forward, but I have yet to find this after searching for a transcript of the hearing. I will continue to search...

                                                                        2. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                          Every diabetic I know has been given that advice. It's in the dietary guidelines of the ADA (45 gms of carbs per meal), the AACE and Joslin diabetes center and the dietetics assn.

                                                                          I guess all the hundreds of diabetics I've communicated about this with over almost two decades, my mother, other relatives and I are a pretty good sample You know what they bring to diabetics in the hospital for breakfast? Waffles, juice, cereal, muffins... It's not regional, it's international.

                                                                          Not only that, diabetes educators tell diabetics not to test at one hour post meal, which is when glucose peaks, they tell them to wait til two hours, when the glucose has cleared, so they never know how badly the meals their told to eat are harming them.

                                                                          1. re: mcf


                                                                            No way have I communicated with hundreds of diabetics. Dozens of POTENTIAL diabetics though, as I prescribe meds that "cause" it.

                                                                            I am going to check with the FP's, peds and endocrinologists over on medscape though. I've never heard anything like that!

                                                                            May I quote you?

                                                                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                              I suggest you ask diabetics, or read forum archives on diabetes groups. Read this thread, it's exactly what's happening in hospitals and health care facilities and offices due to lobbying by grain, sugar and drug companies:

                                                                              Include this in your assessment: www.phlaunt.com/diabetes

                                                                              and http://www.diabetes-book.com/cms/arti...

                                                                              The last link is the site with a lot of free info, of an engineer and long term type 1 diabetic who didn't do well following medical advice for management until he researched on his own, and took the kind of approach one might expect from an engineer. His wife was a doctor. He later went to med school to learn more and to be more empowered, and became a FP, who was named to the scientific advisory committee of the AACE years back.

                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                Thanks - there is a lot of good reading there.

                                                                                My mother and sister - both diabetic. I test myself using their meters periodically and it's always fine - ???

                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                  The most important information is before your first bite of a meal, and 45-70 minutes later. Then 2 hours after first bite. Then the second hour post meal.

                                                                                  If you're hyperinsulinemic, you could be acquiring damage from high insulin levels that are keeping your glucose normal.

                                                        2. re: sandylc

                                                          I don't see why anyone would fight against doctors over such things. Medical doctors are ignorant of herbal "therapies" because such things are not medicine. They are aware of vitamin deficiencies and can test for them. They understand the importance of a good diet, but they are not dieticians. It is not their job, for the most part, to give much time to dietary advice. There are exceptions, of course. For example Dr. Lustig treats pediatric obesity, which is largely a dietary problem. My General Practitioner, however, doesn't tell me what to eat or not eat and I don't want him to.

                                                          1. re: GH1618

                                                            "Medical doctors are ignorant of herbal "therapies" because such things are not medicine"

                                                            Wow. How old is modern "medicine"? Compared to herbal medicine?

                                                            You CANNOT separate diet and health from illness without paying dearly. You have illustrated here one part of what is wrong with "modern medicine" - the total disregard of what it takes to produce HEALTH.

                                                            Ugh. Arrogant ignorance is one of my least favorite things.

                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                              Oh, come on; not TOTAL. Many health I surance companies help with wellness initiatives, and some cover alternative therapies. So eti es better tha tney cover mental health a d drug an alcohol treatment.

                                                              It's funny, but I often watch cooking shows, or read forums like this one, and end up thinking about health and medicine. Then something wakens me from my rhapsody and I remember "good" food is not a covered benefit.

                                                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                That was supposed to say.....

                                                                "Sometimes better than they cover mental health and drug and alcohol treatment."

                                                            2. re: GH1618

                                                              Physicians communicating to the public what the effects of eating certain foods are isn't being told what or what not to eat. Your comment reminds me of what the beverage association says when arguing against soda bans.

                                                              1. re: Josh

                                                                That's a laugh. I think the beverage industry is peddling poison in sugar-sweetened sodas.

                                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                                  Of course, but the point is that we live in a country where PR is used to muddy issues.

                                                                  1. re: Josh

                                                                    We live in a country where drug industry CME (credits for continuing medical education) is the norm. Miuch more pernicious than garden variety PR.

                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                      Drug companies no longer create CME. They give unrestricted grants to certified medical organizations who produce CME. Drug companies still have promotional educational programs but no longer drive CME.

                                                                      1. re: cwdonald

                                                                        Please. Seriously. They pay for them and they get what they pay for.

                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                          Having worked in the industry I can tell you that there is a huge difference in the nature of the product that was produced 10 years ago and now. Writing a check to a medical school, versus ghost writing a whole program produces a very different product. The overall net effect is that pharma is spending a lot less in the CME field now. The Sunshine laws have had an effect.

                                                                          1. re: cwdonald

                                                                            They are very creative in getting around it. It was less than ten years ago that Harvard med students protested against the quality of their education... all about using new drugs and tech, not patient care. And only last year a Harvard researcher stated: "drug companies own medicine."





                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                              A lot of smoke about nothing. The overblown case of the photography in Cambridge. The startling fact that the smartest people who wirte practice guidelines also consult with the Pharmaceutical Industry (would you prefer that it is physicians for Insurance companies who have the incentive to minimize all treatment?).

                                                                              Biotech and Pharma may drive some innovation, but today the greater influences on physician pharmaceutical choices are from insurance companies, and formularies, rather than directly from Pharmaceutical companies.

                                                                              1. re: cwdonald

                                                                                I think the photos are the least of it, but if not used for potential reprisals or intimidation, I can't understand why Pfizer, rather than journalists, were taking them.

                                                                                The smoke clogging the health care systme is blowing is chugging out of the drug industry.

                                                                                A lot of doctors have no experience with the drugs they're being paid to "teach" other doctors about. Drug reps just hand them a script and pay them to show up.

                                                                                1. re: cwdonald

                                                                                  True. Insurance companies are the dominant player. They can limit what treatments a patient can receive, and also act as a restraint, to some extent, on drug prices. It's a clash of the titans between insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and hospital groups.

                                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                                    And where is the patient in all of this?

                                                                                    Disregarded; a necessary annoyance.

                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                      The patient is the receptacle into which all those drugs are dumped.

                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                        I don't know what that is supposed to mean. I have never had a physician prescribe anything which he or she did not believe was medically necessary. And, ultimately, an adult patient has the right to refuse any medication.

                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                          Hi, mcf: "The patient is the receptacle into which all those drugs are dumped."

                                                                                          Right. But you forgot: "...and forced payors to Big Pharma via Big Insurance" and "bankruptcy court fodder".


                                                                                        2. re: sandylc

                                                                                          That's an exaggeration. My experience (which is considerable in recent years) is that those who provide medical services directly to patients sincerely try to provide the best care they are able to, given the constraints under which they operate. The problems in delivery of medical services are systemic — there is no one part of the system which should be made the scapegoat.

                                                                                          1. re: GH1618

                                                                                            Here we agree (well, except for the exaggeration part).

                                                                                            I do believe that most medical providers do the best that they can under terrible constraints. The system is VERY broken and allows them little opportunity to truly help people.

                                                                                            I had a conversation recently with a neurologist about how now is a miserable time to be a doctor.

                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                              I hear it's also a miserable time to be a lawyer, a farmer, a high school student, and a recent grad. Or on Spain's World cup Team!

                                                                                              I remember my grandmother having both arms and both legs amputated dues to DM, although my sister says that's not exactly true. When I was a child kids with DM didn't grow up, have babies, and raise them, but my bff did. I'm seeing kids who weighed less than two pounds when they were born 15 years ago; they wouldn't have made it 20 years ago. When I was in medical school we suited up like we were going to Mars, and in medical school there were wards FULL of abandoned babies with AIDS. I remember giving Factor VIII to kids in 1983, and seeing the same kids for HIV a few years later. One was a medical student. Last year I read about a child CURED of AIDS!

                                                                                              I think things are changing, but some of it is for the better. A lot of stuff is being done by someone other than doctors right now. I think that is the only way this can work.


                                                                                              "The multidisciplinary foot team consisted of a diabetologist, a vascular surgeon, a specialist in infectious diseases, a chiropodist and an orthopaedic surgeon, who all were educated in the consensus guidelines for foot care. At the multidisciplinary foot clinic, patients were treated for hyperglycemia, hypertension and hyperlipidemia, and were given the opportunity to attend programs to quit smoking. Vascular surgeons performed percutaneous transluminal angioplasty or bypass surgery and, when necessary, a specialist in infectious diseases decided the antibiotic treatment, whereas orthopaedic surgeons decided on surgical revision and/or off-loading treatment. Diabetologists were responsible for metabolic control and, when necessary, the treatment of heart failure and kidney failure."

                                                                                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                Sure, not everything is bad an there are great things happening, but how much of this is trickling down to the army of GPs who see too many patients daily and might as well be living on Mars when it comes to new methods or nutritional education and actually being able to spend enough time with each patient?

                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                  I don't know what you mean by "new methods of nutritional education," but a lot of new "methods" pertaining to food are not medicine and therefore not something a medical doctor need spend much time on.

                                                                                                  There is no shortage of people willing to promote the latest food fads. Leave the medical doctors out of it — they have more important business to attend to.

                                                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                    New methods OR nutritional education. If you're going to argue it, at least get it right.

                                                                                                  2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                    "Might as well be living on Mars"? Seriously?

                                                                                                    I am not sure what you mean by "GP", but most primary care docs are Pediatricians, OBGyn's, and FP's, and if my husband is any example, it's "enough". He has hoop after hoop top jump through to prove he is up to date, and it includes a broad range of subjects.

                                                                                                    I would agree that there must be limits when a resource is in short supply, and that includes time with primary care doctors. In my experience the patients who want/need more than an average amount of time ( 15 minutes or so) are assigned to physician "extenders". NP's and PA's probably average 20-30 minutes, or so our mutual patients tell me.

                                                                                                    And then there is this;

                                                                                                    "Sutter Weight Management Institute"

                                                                                                    Keep in mind this is a " covered medical benefit", as opposed to a personal choice about what and where to eat.

                                                                                                    Did you have something in mind?

                                                                                                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                      "GP" means General Practitioner. The term of choice these days seems to be Primary Care Physician (PCP).

                                                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                        Hmmmm.....GP used to be an insult to FP's. From back in the days when you didn't have to be board certified to practice. To get and stay board certified in FP means a whole lot has had to "trickle down".

                                                                                                        BTW, PCP can mean primary care PROVIDER, which may not be a physician at all.

                                                                                                        Anyway, this is no longer about Dr. Oz, so I'm going to give it a rest.

                                                                                              2. re: GH1618

                                                                                                Well, yeah, the whole system sucks. And only patients who do their due diligence and other practitioners know how bad it is.

                                                                                    2. re: mcf

                                                                                      Nevermind. This is for a different venue.

                                                                      2. re: GH1618

                                                                        Too bad you can't recommend more than once

                                                                      3. I thought Oz was testifying as a "Celebvocate", but realized he was being called on the carpet.

                                                                        I don't think he should be scapegoated, but perhaps he should rethink his "flowery" prose.

                                                                        The thing is, that doesn't make for the teasers, sound bites and hooks that draw eyeballs to televisions.

                                                                        1. Orac has a particularly good analysis of this event, as he is a regular follower of such things:


                                                                          1. Doctors on tv hawking, or endorsing, or featuring products on a show can be murky.
                                                                            On the Dr. Oz show, is Dr. Oz wearing his white coat, or is he an entertainer?

                                                                            Oz featuring these products comes down to money- generating ratings so advertisers will pay for air time.
                                                                            Weight loss products have broad appeal, ergo, Dr. Oz (or more likely, his producers) will prominently feature products/foods/books/ etc. that promise weight loss/longevity/skinny jeans/less saggy boobs and a face as smooth as a baby's bottom.

                                                                            1. "But as I said before, he has to entertain and create sensationalism in his show in order to compete in the same time slot as Judge Judy, a very tough hour for daytime TV".


                                                                              Oh, poor Dr. Oz.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: miss_belle

                                                                                as syndicated shows the time slots vary by market

                                                                              2. Yeah, indeed. I no more listen to him re. my health than I used Oprah as a guide for what to read, or than I trusted Dr Phil as a marriage counselor. Bread and circuses.

                                                                                That said, I do agree with Kaleo's point. Worse thing for lots of business is a healthy, prescription-free populace.

                                                                                56 Replies
                                                                                1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                  Blanket condemnation of prescription drugs and the companies that make them is as misguided as looking to tv hucksters for medical advice. Promotion of quack remedies and opposition to actual medicine are closely related.

                                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                                    No one (at least not this Huckleberry) condemned all prescription drugs. But do I have a healthy cynicism re Big Pharm and their lobbyists? Yes. And JMO, re the OP, the whole proceeding seems wasteful of taxpayer dollars. When the companies take the money from their tv & magazine ads directed to us and invest those funds in R&D, focusing marketing on medical professionals only (where it seems more fitting), I'll be less cynical.

                                                                                    1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                      The use of the term "big pharma" is a lqzy and poor substitute for the critical thinking required to support some particular complaint.

                                                                                      Nearly all prescription drugs come from large pharmaceutical companies because expensive research laboratories are required to develop them. There is nothing inherently wrong with bigness. Without large incorporated businesses, we wouldn't have a lot of things we all take for granted in modern life, including practically everything used in modern medicine, because no one would have the resources to develop an idea.

                                                                                      It's fine to be aware of the potential for abuse in any place where wealth or power is concentrated, but merely to dismiss an industry as "big pharma" undermines any credibility your arguments might have. People who can make substantive arguments on the merits of a question do not need to resort to name-calling.

                                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                                        You ignore the substance of my argument because of my choice of a modifier and then chide me for *my* lack of critical thinking?

                                                                                        My discomfort with those companies ever-increasing gap between mass-marketing allocations and R&D allocations remains. I wish their spending would reflect more investment in those large labs, and less in goofy mass-media ads.

                                                                                        I continue to wish that large pharmaceutical companies would market the meds to my physicians...as was the norm for many decades...not to me. Are you happy with their ratio of marketing budget to R&D budget? I am not. Dollars are needed in their research labs, where scientists can have eureka! moments that change lives. I want those scientists to be on the large pharmaceutical companies' payrolls, not increasing teams of ad folks. I don't need to be told about Low T meds during the Superbowl...why are they joining the "tv huckster" crowd with cutesy ads for everything from anticoagulants to ED drugs? Do they expect Mr and Mrs America to make a clinical judgment in the 30 seconds that those very expensive ads runs and then run to their PCP and ask them to prescribe a med?

                                                                                        Drug companies don't get carte blanche--nor are they inherently benign--because of the nature of what they manufacturer.

                                                                                        1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                          A lot of money goes to marketing in most business, it isn't different with pharmaceuticals.

                                                                                          I don't what the budgets look like, but I'm happy with the drugs that were available to me when I needed them. None of them have ever been marketed to me except the statin, and I take the generic version of that. The medications I take and have taken were prescribed because of medical necessity, not because of marketing pressure.

                                                                                          If your doctors are prescribing medications to you for any reason other than your actual medical needs, then you should find other doctors.

                                                                                          1. re: GH1618

                                                                                            I agree with what you say, except for my experience of the incessant TV ads that market a bunch of prescription drugs to us in the Boston area. Overactive bladder. ED. AFib. Add-on antidepressants. Low T. Diabetic neuropathy pain....the list goes on. They're in our magazines, too. It could be a regional thing.

                                                                                            Anyway, I wish those would go.

                                                                                            1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                              Easy. Get rid of the television, as I have done. This also gets rid of annoying political ads, and every other type of annoying ad.

                                                                                              1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                It's not regional, pinehurst. Same thing here in New Mexico (at least a year ago when I quit watching commercial tv). Especially on tv channels geared to the senior audience. That's why I quit watching commercial tv. Every single commercial was about fear: you will fall in the bathtub, you will die with no life insurance, your doctor mis-prescribed a medication--you need to sue him. It's obnoxious and I quit. I stream everything now with no corporate brainwashing.

                                                                                                1. re: sandiasingh

                                                                                                  Hi, Sandia:

                                                                                                  I don't know which is more absurd:

                                                                                                  (a) "Serious side effects, including stroke, heart attack, liver failure, suicide and suicidal thoughts may occur... ask your doctor about the free trial of Kilyanow right away!"; or

                                                                                                  (b) The boner pill ads that modestly place convex and concave in separate bathtubs.

                                                                                                  Here's just a glimpse into the money Big Pharma injects into the veins of addicted politicians: https://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/ind...

                                                                                                  In the past 15 years alone, Big Pharma has spent over $2.8 BILLION on lobbying. That's #1 position they hold, $800 MILLION more than #2, Insurance Companies, and $1.3 BILLION more than our friends in Big Oil.

                                                                                                  Anyone who thinks Big Pharma doesn't steer our political process either isn't paying attention or doesn't want to know.


                                                                                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                    I've got news for you. Every business, and for that matter every individual, tries to steer our political process to their own advantage. We call that democracy.

                                                                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                      I call corporations dominating politics by injecting tens of billions of dollars into politicians' pockets a *subversion* of democracy.

                                                                                                      And here's news for you: Only a tiny fraction of US businesses have armies of lobbyists. Yet that tiny fraction holds tremendous sway over what happens in our government.

                                                                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                        Yup. I can personally attest to that since I worked personally with "armies of lobbyists." ("The spend" for "the ask" is beyond comprehension.)

                                                                                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                          And that's just one example of the ways in which we are careening into Oligarchy.

                                                                                                  2. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                    It's not just tv ads. Those free samples your doctor doles out hand over fist are provided by those drug companies as part of their marketing strategy. Even giving away the meds for free, they are pushing older medicines (for which the patent has expired and so are less profitable) out of the system in favor of the expensive new drugs, effectively taking the choice away from both patient and doctor.

                                                                                                    Which is at the heart of what is wrong with treating medical care as a for-profit venture. The list of side effects of newer drugs can take up half the commercial, and yet older, less complicated drugs are sometimes simply not available any longer because there's more money to be made with the new ones.

                                                                                                    1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                      It's called planned obsolescence.
                                                                                                      Welcome to the modern world ;(

                                                                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                                                                        But at least when I have to replace my television, I get a better television.

                                                                                                        1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                          You're getting better drugs too. You may choose not to believe it but it is reality.

                                                                                                          1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                            As an asthma sufferer for a couple decades now, I can attest to the fact that medicine has changed and improved drastically, thankfully!

                                                                                                            1. re: monavano

                                                                                                              I'm glad you've found a newer medicine that works for you, honestly. In my own family's history, side effects of new medicines have made them problematic.

                                                                                                          2. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                            Nowadays, yes, but there was nothing wrong with your old tv, you just wanted it, you didn't need it.

                                                                                                            Computers are a good example. I've had to replace one or two because technology progressed and they could no longer be compatible.
                                                                                                            Worked fine. Not broken. Absolutely useless.

                                                                                                        2. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                          That complaint is without merit. There is no reasonable basis for prohibiting giving samples of prescription meds to those who are authorized to prescribe them. Physicians tend to be conservative, and will stick with what works. On the other hand, they need to keep up with developments to learn about new things that might work better. In any other profession this practice would not be controversial, but some people seem to have an axe to grind about the medical profession so stir up controversy where none should exist.

                                                                                                          It is common in supermarkets to see samples of new food products being handed out to shoppers. I don't see this as being different in principle.

                                                                                                          The "hand over fist" characterization is not accurate. In the 20 years that I have seen one primary care physician and a few specialists I have been given a sample only once that I can remember.

                                                                                                          1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                            At what point did I say the practice should be prohibited? That is not at all what I said or implied, only pointed out problems that the practice creates. This is an unfair and prejudicial mischaracterization on your part.

                                                                                                            The "hand over fist" characterization may not be accurate in your experience. It is in the experience of my family. We are banging anecdotes against anecdotes in this case.

                                                                                                            Some links from Pew Charitable Trust and Wall Street Journal. I suppose they are also cranks with axes to grind:



                                                                                                            1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                              Ok, so then are you saying that it's a disreputable practice but nothing should be done about it?

                                                                                                              My position is that it is not a disreputable practice per se, and the risk due to abuse of the practice exagerrated. That's because I have confidence in the physicians who stand between the pharmaceutical companies and the patient, having had considerable experience with them.

                                                                                                              1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                I did not say it was disreputable. In fact, it's very common. I don't even know how the word "disreputable" would apply here. It is harmful in ways I've mentioned, which you don't seem to agree with, but so are many common business practices.

                                                                                                                I also didn't say that nothing should be done about it. We're not limited to only the options of "allow" and "restrict", so it can't be said I ever implied that we should do either. Pointing out a problem does not imply suggesting a solution, and in this case simply being aware of the adverse effects of this sort of marketing would seem to be a step forward.

                                                                                                                But since you can't seem to stop reframing what I've said to serve your own arguments, I'm going to leave this conversation now. I'm allergic to straw men and my samples of Clarinex have run out.

                                                                                                                1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                                  Your point continues to escape me, so we'll just leave it at that.

                                                                                                            2. re: GH1618

                                                                                                              Perhaps the grinding of axes is due to doctors sometimes choosing less effective, but more expensive, newer medicines over the more effective, cheaper, older generic drugs?

                                                                                                              You write as though bribery by pharmaceutical companies isn't a thing. Do you not recall Al Gore being shamed into dropping his stance against relaxing of AIDS drug patents?

                                                                                                              1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                I think his advocacy for environmental causes, and his sounding the alarm about the general assault on science and reason, are laudable.

                                                                                                                1. re: Josh

                                                                                                                  as long as you do as he says and not as he does... seems like mr. gore doesn't exactly have the smallest carbon footprint himself.

                                                                                                                  1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                                    To some degree living in modern industrialized society makes us all complicit. Unless one can live off the grid and be 100% self-sustaining there is always room for criticism. Al Gore flying a plane or owning a big home has precisely nothing to do with our civilization's reliance on fossil fuels.

                                                                                                            3. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                              That's not always how it works. I've a friend with schizophrenia who, without samples would be forced to go without two of his drugs. Mental health parity, especially for people on aid has not caught up to the needs of people with mental illness. He gets the drugs in sample packs from a county doctor during his monthly appointment.

                                                                                                              1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                I have family members who depend on samples to get through periods when insurance will not cover it and didn't mean to imply otherwise. I'm glad the samples are there when they are needed, for my family and your friend as well. But the negative effects of samples as part of a marketing strategy should be at least acknowledged.

                                                                                                                1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                                  I was grateful for those Vioxx samples I didn't take after reading the warning sheet in the packet. To think I could have potentially suffered those side-effects free of charge!

                                                                                                          2. re: GH1618

                                                                                                            1. R&D budgets have been growing and growing on an actual basis, but the productivity has been going down. The reality is we have his some limits to science, and it is going to take time for scientists to be able to make more discoveries.

                                                                                                            2. Direct to consumer advertising has actually been falling because it has been found to be relatively ineffective in many cases.

                                                                                                            3. The goal of DTC advertising is to enable the consumer to have a part of the diagnosis decision. Taling about options, cost, what is on formulary, what are the side effects. Nothing has been taken away from the clinician in making the decision, but the process of making the decision is now including a dialogue with the patient. That is a good thing.

                                                                                                            4. DTC advertising has in some cases increased diagnosis of conditions. Assuming they are real conditions, this is actually a good thing.

                                                                                                          3. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                            Pharmaceutical companies are for-profit enterprises and they have learned two important things:
                                                                                                            Direct-to-consumer marketing increases sales
                                                                                                            Finding substances that control (not cure) chronic conditions insures long-term profits.

                                                                                                            That means that in a free market economy we will not soon see an end to either the ads or the focus on (and creation of) commonly occurring chronic diseases. R&D is all about the long-term chronic condition. And they want you to go to your doctor and tell him/her what you have and what you want him/her to prescribe. Unbelievable. Too bad for you if you have something that is either easily cured or rare.

                                                                                                            1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                              1. Selection on what to do R&D on is not based on what is chronic, but rather what science tell us about the underlying cause of disease.

                                                                                                              2. The implication of your statement is that companies would prefer to find a long term way to manage a disease rather than cure it. This can be no further from the truth. The value of something that cures is much greater than the value of something that manages a disease.

                                                                                                              3. Paradigm shifts are hard (case in point is the relationship between ulcers and bacteria.. ) but if the scientific evidence is there, then there is no reason why someone cannot make money at it.

                                                                                                              4. The biggest driver of the pharmaceutical industry is the bad lifestyles that Westerners lead. The diabetes epidemic is being driven by the lifestyle choices of Americans, not big pharma. The heart disease epidemic is partly being driven by what we think good and bad fats are not the pharmaceutical industry.

                                                                                                              5. Cynical conspiracies make great thriller novels and movies. The reality is there are bright scientists and marketers working for these companies whose ultimate goal is to make better health for mankind.

                                                                                                              1. re: cwdonald

                                                                                                                Hi, donald: "...companies whose ultimate goal is to make better health for mankind."

                                                                                                                Dead wrong. Their ultimate goal is to make the most money possible. From a corporate perspective--the only one that matters--"better health for mankind" is an incidental matter.

                                                                                                                One need look no further than the indefensible difference in prices between any given drug company's formulary in THIS country and any other country.

                                                                                                                I am on a medication, the retail price of which here in USA is $795 per month. The very same med is available in most other countries for about $50--and they wouldn't be selling it if they couldn't make a profit.

                                                                                                                Yeah, right, Big Pharma is altruistic. That's why they need 1,153 registered lobbyists. https://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/ind...


                                                                                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                  Sure they are, Donald, that's why they will give me a 90 day prescriptions for some meds and 30 days for others. They don't want me to survive cancer. They just want me to survive long enough with chronic health problems to make money off of me. It's a sick, perverted system.

                                                                                                                  We have family overseas that has to pay CASH for any and all treatments, surgeries and procedures. Their docs are all European or US educated. Cost of a stress test here=-$3,000. There--$500. It's so messed up that it's beyond redemption, and it's our own fault for allowing the corrupt middle-man insurance companies to drive our culture. Why do we do this? Other first world countries don't. There is absolutely no need for insurance companies. It's a concept they implanted generations ago that we never question. It's totally insane.

                                                                                                                  1. re: sandiasingh

                                                                                                                    I am an attorney who works for a large pharmaceutical company, specifically supporting the oncology unit. I am so sorry to hear about your cancer. I am also so sad to hear that you think the company that makes your drug "doesn't want you to survive." I am not going to engage in a debate or defense of the industry here, even anonymously, as it would not be appropriate (or on topic for a food message board). But I can promise you that the researchers, clinicians, and physicians I work with are brilliant, dedicated, good-hearted people who strive every day, and who would like nothing more than, to find a cure for cancer. Some folks may choose not to believe that, but it is the truth.

                                                                                                                    1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                                      OK, so why don't they do something about the system if they are so determined to help people? I mean it. I'm sure when you work with researchers and physicians on a day to day personal basis, you don't see the big picture. I understand. OTOH, you are a health consumer just like the rest of us, so maybe you do.

                                                                                                                      But if these brilliant, dedicated good-hearted people really want to cure people of morbidic diseases, they should make some attempt to make it happen. I know how scientists & researchers can live in a bubble. If they really believe in helping to cure disease, why don't they stand up for what they are doing? If I have missed a big news story about pharmaceutical researchers marching on Washington against big insurance, please feel free to bring that to my attention. There is no way I believe there isn't a cure for some types of cancers. 60 years of research in the 20 and 21st centuries? I don't think so . . . .

                                                                                                                      1. re: sandiasingh

                                                                                                                        You are asking a private business to take over a role that properly belongs to government. That isn't appropriate. The role of a pharmaceutical company is to try to produce products that are medically useful, so that they can be sold at a profit. Some of that profit is used to expand and modernize the business, and by that means the state of the art is advanced. That's the way all private enterprise works, if it is to achieve long-term success. Pharmaceutical companies are not charities. How could that possibly work?

                                                                                                                        In fact, some cancers are curable. Some are not. A great deal of progress has been made in cancer research. Your suggestion that somehow cancer cures are being kept under wraps by pharmaceutical companies in order to exploit people with cancer marks your arguments as not worthy of serious consideration, because this is rank fantasy.

                                                                                                                        1. re: sandiasingh

                                                                                                                          Everybody alive today will die from something. You can't cure every disease, nor do I think we should want to.

                                                                                                                        2. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                                          Hi, charmedgirl:

                                                                                                                          I'm not sure anyone here would malign the researchers, clinicians or physicians who you work with. I certainly wouldn't. I think the pernicious aspects of Big Pharma (some would reasonably say its "evil") happen not in the trenches, but in the boardroom.

                                                                                                                          I, too, am an attorney. Imagine what would happen to you and any of your colleagues if you advocated for worldwide drug price equity, sharing of intellectual property, or selling direct to consumers or their physicians (instead of through the insurance companies). You'd all be fired tout suite.


                                                                                                                        3. re: sandiasingh

                                                                                                                          The size of your prescription is dictated by your insurance company not pharmaceutical companies.

                                                                                                                          Everything you cite in terms of the difference between the US and ex US medical systems is driven by the system of insurance, not on the part of pharmaceutical companies.

                                                                                                                          Prices in other countries are often dictated by negotiations with government or large insurers, whereas in the US it is individual negotiations between pharma and insurance companies.

                                                                                                                          There are plenty of reasons to complain about the US. To put the problem solely at the feet of the US Pharma companies is naive and just plain wrong.

                                                                                                                      2. re: cwdonald

                                                                                                                        cwdonald, how do you account for that famous quote from a drug company exec about how they have sick people taking their drugs, so now their next challenge is how to get healthy people to take them?

                                                                                                                        EDIT: Charmedgirl, you too...

                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                          Sincere wishes for good health to both you, sandylc, and sandiasingh.

                                                                                                                          1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                                            A appreciate your input, charmedgirl. Not trying to be antagonistic, but my personal life experience and yours are different. And I will say, either big pharma or my own personal health, diet, philosophical and exercise choices or all of those combined are working very well indeed.

                                                                                                                          2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                            Have you seen what England is doing with statins? I have a good friend from there and every time she goes back for a visit she is shocked at the number of people on statins. She says the NHS is using it as a prophylactic against high cholesterol. It's epidemic and very disturbing.

                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                              That quote refers to the goal of medication becoming preventative. When can medicine identify the people at risk for conditions, and identify the drugs that will prevent the onset of conditions. It may be a wrong way of thinking about health but that is the real meaning of that quote. We all know health is driven by genetics and patient choices, and pharma sits in the reactive seat reacting against genetic combinations, and bad choices. Whether pharma has a role to preventing people from making bad choices is debatable, but people continue to look for the things that reduce risk of disease, or reduce risk of complications.

                                                                                                                          3. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                                            Keep in mind, that what drives these pharma companies desire for profits, is driven by their shareholders' demands, ie us. If you own any index funds, then you likely own big pharma. And while you may not push to cut R&D, trust me, the big shot portfolio manager running your fund is. Take a look at Valeant, a stock market darling whose stock has gone up 10x in 5 years. Take a look at their almost nonexistent r&d budget... They are being rewarded for it.

                                                                                                                            Sorry, I rambled. But it's not just big bad pharma and their lobbyists. Any person buying stock as an investment is complicit in the desire of companies, not just big pharma to maximize profits.

                                                                                                                            Fwiw, the innovation isn't at big pharma anymore. They are consolidators who buy pipelines because their R&d is so inefficient. One could argue that they shouldn't be the ones doing it. In fact, there are hundreds of biotechs who are making real contributions to society, in part because that is where the best and brightest want to work.

                                                                                                                          4. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                            I call bullshit on all those research dollars coming from corporate profits. Our taxpayer dollars fund a ton of that research preliminary work by the NIH that gets handed over to Big Pharma for free to take to market.

                                                                                                                            The term "Big Pharma" is very commonly used by doctors who feel hamstrung because as one Harvard researcher recently put it, "drug companies own medicine."

                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                              The doctors I se (and I've seen a bunch in recent years) don't use that term. "Big Pharma" is primarily the language of quacks and their followers.

                                                                                                                              1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                just because they've never said it in your presence does not mean they don't say it

                                                                                                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                  Lots just call them "the drug companies," as in "the drug companies would never stand for that" or "drug companies own medicine." But lots of conventional docs disgusted by the way their being pressured by consensus to use a pill for every ill object of big pharma, too.

                                                                                                                                  I see lots of docs, both socially and personally.

                                                                                                                                  I think the drumbeat began with Marcia Angell in the 90s.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                    That's a bit of an overstatement. People who talk about trade agreements like the TPP will also use the phrase "big pharma", because pharmaceutical companies have a vested interest in keeping their products as expensive as possible around the world, and they don't want to be bound by other nations' laws governing medicines and drug patents.

                                                                                                                        2. Oz is a scumbag because he knows better than to say the crap he says. He knows what's medically true but says otherwise to make money.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. The vitamin shelves and alternative medicine industries keep growing with or without Oz. Unless he has profited by purposely making false claims that have proven hurtful, I fail to see why he's being scapegoated. There are existing regulations they could enforce instead.

                                                                                                                            Meanwhile, Medicare and Humana have stopped paying for basic name brand drugs (like Cellebrex) in the wake of the Obamacare overhaul, and nobody is saying a word.

                                                                                                                            By the way, a lot of kitchen home remedies do actually work in some cases.

                                                                                                                            1. Here's a great New Yorker article on Dr. Oz. and his path to wacky medicine.
                                                                                                                              THE OPERATOR
                                                                                                                              Is the most trusted doctor in America doing more harm than good? http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/20...

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                                That article tells all about Oz. As bagelman says below - he's turned into a huckster. Plain and simple.

                                                                                                                              2. For years I made fun of Oz and all the crazies on his show and this annoyed the hell out of Mrs. B.

                                                                                                                                Last night she proclaimed, you were right!

                                                                                                                                Vindication at last. Another huckster with a degree exposed....................................

                                                                                                                                1. "Dr. Oz, can I really lose 8 pounds with just one mango pudding enema.?

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. It seems to me that Dr. Oz want to have his cake and eat it, too.
                                                                                                                                    On the one hand, he IS part of the problem and has actively contributed to selling products by tacitly endorsing them on his show, which is of course, for rating and money.
                                                                                                                                    Dr. Oz can call his prose "flowery", but he really hasn't minced words.
                                                                                                                                    To wit:
                                                                                                                                    "Oz called green coffee extract a “magic weight loss cure.” Raspberry ketone was “the number one miracle in a bottle to burn your fat.” He said Garcina cambogia “may be the simple solution you’ve been looking for to bust your body fat for good.”

                                                                                                                                    This isn't flowery, purple prose. This is a doctor, a trusted and very high profile professional, saying these words, so the implication is that it's as true as water being wet.

                                                                                                                                    Then, Oz touts that he wants to be part of the solution to the problem he helped create, and defended his actions by putting forth the false argument that not discussing supplements would a disservice.
                                                                                                                                    It's not a matter of creating a false fervor over supplements vs. not discussing them at all.
                                                                                                                                    It's about doing it responsibly, very responsibly, when you know you have a gigantic microphone in front of you, and you know money lines your pockets by doing it.

                                                                                                                                    53 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                      I agree, if I read you correctly, that the problem here is mostly in the sort of rabid support his show gives to any and all products that come along.

                                                                                                                                      I once saluted Dr. Oz because he was a medical professional who was not afraid to support and talk about valid alternative therapies, nutritional support and other types of "alternative" health practices.

                                                                                                                                      I am disappointed in the circus sideshow that is his TV program, however. The sensational nature of his presentation and non-discriminating support of anything and everything without debate serves to further discredit valid health practices that already suffer from political attacks from entrenched medical/insurance/pharma interests.

                                                                                                                                      I personally have not been done any favors by traditional medicine and drugs. The good ol' "do no harm" mantra didn't happen for me.

                                                                                                                                      I have tackled some pretty big health problems with herbs and supplements and won, succeeding where doctors/drugs failed and actually harmed me. And before someone hops in here and condescendingly uses the word "anecdotal", be on notice that I have observed the current true meaning of anecdotal to be "I am ignorant of and/or feel threatened by this of which you speak, so I will shut you down so I can continue to feel superior".

                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                        Great post.
                                                                                                                                        I'm sorry you've suffered, but it's wonderful that you seem inquisitive, intrepid and independent and have found alternatives that work for you.
                                                                                                                                        Medicine is an art and a science and it's not good to lose sight of that.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                          I think you are saying you have found some relief, and that the benefits of what you are doing outweigh the risks. I think that is a wonderful thing, and I am sure any physician that you no longer need would agree.

                                                                                                                                          In my experience ( wow! 30+ years! I'm so old!), no physician is resentful of someone not needing medical care.

                                                                                                                                          But I admit, I don't want to have to "clean up".

                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                            I am very happy to hear that herbs and supplements have led to improved health for you. I think that for many people they can provide relief and even cures. I also think that diet and exercise can be of similar value. Hell, I'd never even venture to discount the palliative value of prayer, faith, belief, ritual, concentration, meditation, hypnosis, self-flagellation, blood-letting, what have you. Moreover, I have a great deal of contempt and disgust for the current state of the medical industry in the US - at al levels.

                                                                                                                                            Nevertheless, anecdotal evidence,* whether regarding a supplement, a treatment, a pharmaceutical rep, or a particular doctor, is a weak basis for extrapolation. It is not necessarily typical and can not be properly, scientifically evaluated. This can become potentially dangerous and subject to abuse, and, in fact, is why the entire conversation is happening here, in Congress, and in society.

                                                                                                                                            For example, I might relate that drinking a quart of cheap, tequila every morning for sixty days cured my MRSA infection. Doctors were dumbfounded, but it appeared to work. There was no other apparent explanation. Later it was discovered that several other people did the same thing with the same effect.

                                                                                                                                            Now does all of this mean that the best course of action would be for anyone so stricken to start drinking? Does it mean the doctors' proposed treatment would have been wrong? Should the folks at Jose Ole be allowed to print "CURES MRSA" on the label of their rotgut? Should some pimple-faced, liquor store clerk start explaining how best to consume so much tequila before noon? Should Dr. Oz be allowed to say, "When we come back, a new miracle cure for a devastating infection that might have been in your house all along"?

                                                                                                                                            Maybe, it's really just time to compile the anecdotes and start to consider the science. Then we can define the permissible scope of the testimonials and the proper limits to the advertising. In the end, relating the experiences may beneficially lead to accumulating the true data, but, in the interim, we need to recognize it for what it actually is.

                                                                                                                                            *If it's OK with you, I'll continue using the word with its actual meaning. If I wanted to condescend, I'd probably employ a phrase like "little tale" or "success story".

                                                                                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                              I'm not saying that my successes should be written up as proven scientific fact, I'm saying that it would be nice if the medical sorts at least covered up their disdain and disbelief for my methods. It would be even better if they took interest or even note of it.

                                                                                                                                              On a much larger scale, it is horrifying STILL how little doctors as a whole know about the promotion of actual health. The rote delivery of, "exercise for 30 minutes three times a week and eat a low-salt, low-fat diet" is ALL of the actual health advice ever given to any member of my family by a medical professional. My answer to this is a resounding, "Really? Is that all you got?"

                                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                I hear you sandylc. I have had excellent health care which can be very hard to find in New Mexico. From my surgeon to my oncologist, I could not have had better care than when I was in Boston at Harvard Med, Dana Farber and Brigham & Womens.

                                                                                                                                                My surgeon listened to me when I told her I switched to all organic foods eight years ago because my cancer was at least ten years old and went undetected by annual exams. She said my body was telling me something and I had the good sense to listen. That was all she said, no elaboration, no questions. A very grounded, intelligent physician.

                                                                                                                                                So diet is number one in our house and has made a huge difference. I don't care what others think, it works for me. I take Vitamin D and an aspirin every day and absolutely everything else--from protein to calcium and all in between--comes from diet. Grass fed Colorado meats and organic everything else that doesn't come from our garden. No chemicals, pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, additives, artificial colorings. It can be life changing. The time people waste imagining how time consuming a healthy lifestyle is could get them there. It's really very basic.

                                                                                                                                                An authentic positive attitude, sense of humor and not sweating the small stuff is majorly important. I'm very lucky that I rise to sunny days and a healthy, productive lifestyle every day. Can't say enough about that.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandiasingh

                                                                                                                                                  This is synergy between good doctors and good patients.


                                                                                                                                                2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                  Well, it begs the question- did they exercise 30 min. 3x per week and eat better?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                    We are all moderately active - we try to keep moving!

                                                                                                                                                    We VERY likely eat a much better diet than most of the medical folks we've seen. It'd be kind of tough to "eat better" at our house.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                      Medical folks can be a dichotomy- they often eat like shit and don't exercise due to their schedules, hence, the quick and dirty "exercise for 30 min. and eat better"- goodbye!!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                        I would bet money I have a far superior diet and lifestyle than any of my docs for many reasons. And I really don't know anyone who has a diet as made-from-scratch and wholesome as ours--and we have a lot of friends and family! It's just what you focus on and it's different for everybody at different times of our lives.

                                                                                                                                                        As for doctor Oz, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out he's in the entertainment business. But I'm glad he had the cojones to appear before the Senate Committee (or felt he HAD to probably). I'm not for further regulation of supplements, but come on. His snake-oil schtick may result in misguided and unnecessary legislation when there are so damn more many things for them to be doing in Washington.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandiasingh

                                                                                                                                                          Washington focus on important issues?
                                                                                                                                                          What a crazy notion!

                                                                                                                                                          Politicians never miss a chance to bloviate and mug in front of a camera.

                                                                                                                                                          I really agree that the bottom line is that Dr. Oz, the "Dr. Oz Show" Dr. Oz, is an entertainer.
                                                                                                                                                          Dr. Oz the surgeon and clinician is a practicing medical doctor.

                                                                                                                                                          It's a blurred line that most people don't see.
                                                                                                                                                          I couldn't do it- I'd feel too at odds.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                            It ain't the "Mehmet Show". You put your credentials in the title and wear scrubs on the air, that line stops bein' blurry.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                              Oh yeah, it irks me that they wear scrubs and white coats on a daytime talk show.
                                                                                                                                                              It's just so... quackish.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                Speaking of those scrubs on TV, I don't see that "The Doctors" is much better. I stopped watching them before I stopped watching Oz.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                  I've never watched either. I've read some blather from him in the past, enough to know how off beam he is, and I've seen him on The View a few times and Today. Reading a column he and Roisin had, I think, turned me off big time.

                                                                                                                                                                  The Doctors info I've seen in publications seems lifted right out of a google search or a wiki, uncommented on.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                    I've seen The Doctors maybe half a dozen times. It was awful.

                                                                                                                                                                    Oz, a few dozen times. In the beginning I liked that he supported ideas besides those of the medical establishment.

                                                                                                                                                                    He's just gone off the rails in the name of providing the sensational crap that passes for successful TV these days.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                      Supporting alternatives never gets my vote unless I hear strong support that's scientifically sound about it. Dr. Oz calling LDL "lousy cholesterol" is all you need to know what a shallow, superficial nimrod he is.

                                                                                                                                                                      Natural approaches to medicine means not taking shit to alter your body's total hormonal balance, the way emphasis on cholesterol and LDL lowering does. They're what your brain's neurosteroid is made from, and that's what all your adrenal steroids and sex hormones are made from, too. LDL is supposed to go up when you need more of any of those, that's what's natural and normal. It's your own body's homeostasis.

                                                                                                                                                                      He's just a shallow man with a belief system not born out by good science.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                        There needs to be more good science.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                          There IS! I only know this stuff because it's out there! But it doesn't get the big bucks behind its message. I learned all this stuff long before Taubes' book came out, or his articles, I recognized his citations from stuff I'd read while scouring Medline after realizing it was my diet that'd driven me to have so many problems I could avoid. I developed my diet in 1998 from PubMed research, read some diet books later.

                                                                                                                                                                          Only one worth it in my view was Protein Power.

                                                                                                                                                                          There are supplements that are very well studied and have been used as routine medical treatment in other countries with great safety and benefits, too.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                            Maybe I should have said we need less BAD science, and less support for said bad science.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                              I think we need more honesty and accuracy from scientists and media about what scientific studies actually demonstrate, rather than false findings and over interpretations.

                                                                                                                                                                              We tend to get the wrong messages delivered even when the science is good.

                                                                                                                                                                              And YES, we need less epidemiology reported as clinical findings and direction and less use of surrogate end points (devised to sell drugs and other interventions, not promote health) in place of real life clinical outcomes.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                We probably need better science journalism, with science journalists having science degrees and some practical experience. Instead the science articles are written by arts graduates who lack the insight to question and explore. Thus they tend to recycle PR releases verbatum and without balance - it's lazy journalism coupled with ignorance.

                                                                                                                                                                                No wonder so many shaky scientific studies seem to get traction with the general public and the vested interests with the PR dollars can promote ideas that support their causes.

                                                                                                                                                                                I quite like reading the British journalist Ben Goldacre on this - he regularity calls out bad science as well as inept reporting and has written very well on the subject.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: PhilD

                                                                                                                                                                                  Many, probably most, science writers have backgrounds in science. This is an unfair generalization. If you think that a particular science writer has got something wrong, you can say so and explain why. Why tar science writers generally with the same brush?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe you are lucky in the US but in the UK most of the journalists who write popular science articles are not scientists by training. After all why do they need to be if they just rehash the press release. Also much "science" is covered in the beauty and health sections so they use the writers from these sections.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Interesting one of the really good UK writers was sued for libel when he wrote about all the dodgy claims chiropractors made and how dangerous or useless much of the advice and treatment was. The association of chiropractors took him to court and he had to spend a fortune to defend himself - he won. But it makes robust scientific criticism a risky business in some countries which have poor libel laws.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: PhilD

                                                                                                                                                                                      There is a difference between having a "background in science," as I wrote, and being a "scientist." Few science writers are or have been actual scientists (Asimov and Gamow come to mind). More common is for someone to have an interest in science, but which is not sufficient to carry them through a graduate degree program. That does not mean tbat they cannot become competent reporters on scientific matters. Those who are not will generally make substantive errors and be called out on them.

                                                                                                                                                                                      The important thing is not whether a writer has had formal training in the subject on which he or she writes, but whether the subject matter is carefully researched and clearly and accurately presented.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe our different views are explained by the difference between US and UK degree courses. In the UK they tend to be pure science or pure arts with very little choice on courses or modules in the program.

                                                                                                                                                                                        So if you are "interested" in science you generally get streamed into science from age 16, and if you are into English and writing you stream into arts at 16 (I only studied Chemistry, Maths and Biology in my last two years at school before a four year degree in Biological Sciences).

                                                                                                                                                                                        The result is that in the UK few talented writers continued to exercise and interest in science beyond their mid teens, and few scientists were educated to be good writers.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: PhilD

                                                                                                                                                                                          There may be fewer in the US than I thought who have some training in science, after a quick look into the backgrounds of some writers I know. An example is John Troan, a Pittsburgh reporter on medicine who covered the develipment of the polio vaccine. Troan had no education in science whatsoever, but was given the medical beat on the strength of a few articles. Jonas Salk is reported to have said that there were only two reporters he trusted — Edward R. Murrow and John Troan.

                                                                                                                                                                                          How you do the job is what really matters.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: PhilD

                                                                                                                                                                                    Hi, Phil: "We probably need better science journalism, with science journalists having science degrees and some practical experience."

                                                                                                                                                                                    What we *need* is a national polity that has some education in science and the ability to think critically. What we *have*, generally, is a selfish celebrity- and trinket-worshipping population with an attention span of a smart 5-year-old. The politically driven media inculcates in us the conviction that if scientific "news" doesn't validate the political narrative we each already follow, the science is wrong.


                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                                                                        I kinda hate to recommend your post, as it's pretty cynical. But when you're right...

                                                                                                                                                                                        I honestly believe that our grade schools should be teaching formal logic, right alongside math. You can't force people to demand more substantive media and entertainment. But you can at least condition them to feel a little uneasy when the fallacies start flying.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                                                                          So long as such a significant portion of our society embraces a worldview that requires the suspension of reason in order to accept its overarching notion, without another Scopes Monkey type jolt to the zeitgeist, it will be a struggle to advance strong science curriculums in schools. Hence, the continued necessity for the types of protections from shilling being discussed herein.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                            One can achieve prevention and regression of some diseases, like diabetes,, with diet modification alone, even without weight loss or exercise, studies demonstrate.

                                                                                                                                                            Exercise and weight loss have their benefits when possible and desirable, but they are not essential to risk reduction and improved health.

                                                                                                                                                          3. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                            So when you said "anecdotal" meant "I am ignorant of and/or feel threatened by this of which you speak, so I will shut you down so I can continue to feel superior" you didn't really mean to be shutting people down so you can continue to believe what you want to believe without question, or to be insulting and dismissive of science?

                                                                                                                                                            I'm happy that what works for you works for you. But it's not fear or ignorance to say that anecdotal evidence is no substitute for well-designed and reproducible scientific testing.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                              "you didn't really mean to be shutting people down so you can continue to believe what you want to believe without question, or to be insulting and dismissive of science?"

                                                                                                                                                              When did I do that?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                  Exactly when I said you did:

                                                                                                                                                                  "And before someone hops in here and condescendingly uses the word "anecdotal", be on notice that I have observed the current true meaning of anecdotal to be "I am ignorant of and/or feel threatened by this of which you speak, so I will shut you down so I can continue to feel superior".

                                                                                                                                                                  You explicitly shut down anyone who might dare to use the word "anecdotal."

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                    I wasn't insulting or dismissive of science. And I haven't given you reason to say that I want to "continue to believe what I want to believe without question."

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                      I had moved on, but since you asked... I found this insulting of medical doctors. Maybe you are not including us when you say science.

                                                                                                                                                                      " enlightenment is when the medical establishment does an about face and begins to view their work as that of assisting people in becoming healthy, rather than as having a symptom-squashing, single-symptom, quick-fix without regard to consequences, let's just cut it or drug it and move 'em on out attitude."

                                                                                                                                                                      and this

                                                                                                                                                                      "You have illustrated here one part of what is wrong with "modern medicine" - the total disregard of what it takes to produce HEALTH."

                                                                                                                                                                      and this

                                                                                                                                                                      "GPs who see too many patients daily and might as well be living on Mars when it comes to new methods or nutritional education "

                                                                                                                                                                      I can imagine you have met people in the medical community like that. I, on the other hand, have met many patients who seem to believe I am holding out some magic pill, just to be spiteful, when i try to explain that no such thing exists.

                                                                                                                                                                      I would never come here and accuse patients in general of being like that, no matter WHAT my personal, research, or academic experience. I might do it on medscape, but I try not to do it there either. There are others there that seem compelled to do that, even if they are preaching to the wrong audience.

                                                                                                                                                                      The part that frustrates me is that part of the reason many patients don't trust me, is because of what they are reading on the internet. Of course, some of it's good, empowers the patient, and makes my job a bit easier.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                        I stand by my statements, as they are a result of my experiences over a period of thirty years.

                                                                                                                                                                        I have been directly harmed multiple times, both short-term and long-term, by doctors. My husband almost died last fall as a direct result of medical incompetence.

                                                                                                                                                                        If you as a medical professional are not described here, that is wonderful. But there are a lot of problems in the medical and science fields that need to be addressed.

                                                                                                                                                                        Something that people perhaps don't think about is that science has not come even close to learning everything. Science is not always right. There is good knowledge held by intelligent people that science has perhaps not addressed or not addressed very well or not publicized.

                                                                                                                                                                        Knowledge is a moving target. Science comes from the imagination and following results wherever they may lead, not from predetermining a desirable outcome and slavishly following it. It comes from being open to possibilities, not arrogantly dismissive of them.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                          No adult of sound mind can be required to accept any medical treatment. People are free to seek whatever treatment they please outside of the medical profession, or none at all. What they can't do is dictate to medical doctors how they should practice medicine. Professionals define their own standards — that's the essence of any true profession.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc


                                                                                                                                                                              Every sentance? Every word? I wonder if cost is irrelevant.

                                                                                                                                                                              For those who favor a universal pot of money, for the sick, the vulnerable, AND the well. Would you fund every possibilty? Would you choose possibility over "demonstrated "outcome? When and when not? Who decides?

                                                                                                                                                                              I know many physicians who would rather not be gatekeepers. Maybe most. That may be why we have few private practices left, and mega insurance companies. Maybe that is your wish.

                                                                                                                                                                              I say, be careful what you wish for.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                            There are risks involved with every single medical procedure. Blaming doctors for every ill is a large part of why medicine is so expensive today. Malpractice insurance isn't free and every claim of malpractice has to be thoroughly investigated.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                              I'm not talking about blaming doctors for every ill. I am talking about irresponsible, harmful treatment and direct negligence. Like sending someone home instead of to the ER when they're bleeding out. Or using a harmful and ineffective drug therapy that was disproven/discontinued by others a decade previous. Small things like that.

                                                                                                                                                                              I could tell you more horror stories, but I'm checking out here.

                                                                                                                                                                              I have the very best hopes that we can improve our medical care in this country, across the board, in the very near future. We don't look good in the statistics compared to other developed countries regarding quality of care and cost.


                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                I haven't followed this whole subthread, but I have lots of bad doctor stories and barely a handful of good ones. I don't want to be a science project, or a gynny pig, or a lab rat or simply past off to pharmaceuticals. And don't get me started on copays and how much I've spent to tell the doctor my diagnosis and script I need.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                              "Something that people perhaps don't think about is that science has not come even close to learning everything. Science is not always right. There is good knowledge held by intelligent people that science has perhaps not addressed or not addressed very well or not publicized."

                                                                                                                                                                              Whilst this is true it doesn't mean that anecdote is a acceptable substitute for the scientific method. Science may not explain the mechanism of an effect but the application of the scientific method proves the effect is real. This is a critical point when people use the "science doesn't doesn't know everything" line.

                                                                                                                                                                              Certainly anecdote does and should lead to scientific investigation e.g. that certain plants have medicinal effects which results in the isolation of pharmaceuticals. But equally the scientific method can explain why much anecdote is misleading and false - the evidence put forward for homeopathy is a very good example of this e.g. many people report homeopathic remedies cured their cold, despite the fact a cold is a self limiting illness that resolves on it's own in the same time period the remedy "worked".

                                                                                                                                                                              Your experience is your own, it will be an accurate recollection of how you responded, reacted and hopefully got better. However, the anecdotal correlation between the steps you took and the benefits is just that a correlation. The cause of this maybe your actions but that could simply be coincidence. The scientific method, if applied, sorts out the facts.....maybe proving the accuracy of the anecdote, but more often than not, it demonstrates it was coincidence.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                      A lot of clinical medicine, when practiced properly, is the art of responding to anecdote and building inquiry and understanding from it. It's in the tradition of Sir Osler as practiced faithfully by my now retired allergist, for one.

                                                                                                                                                                      Further, since most of what's passed along as consensus guidelines has no basis in well designed clinical studies, but, rather, surrogate end points designed to sell stuff, anecdotes are life saving pointers to avenues we can each investigate.

                                                                                                                                                                      I found my way of eating and managing my health exclusively in peer reviewed literature, and I do pretty much the opposite of what most doctors and ancillary professionals are recommending.

                                                                                                                                                                      Real science, not fudged science based upon suppositions and a rigged methodology. Anecdotal evidence is better than associations and correlations touted as clinical evidence. Way better. One must always do due diligence, treating anyone's information or recommendations, including health care professionals', as a suggestion to be researched before implementation.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                        "Real science, not fudged science based upon suppositions and a rigged methodology. Anecdotal evidence is better than associations and correlations touted as clinical evidence"

                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you! I couldn't come up with a way to say that. You did it beautifully.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                  I used to watch the Dr. Oz show pretty regularly, but seldom in the last year or so. Some of the info is very solid and there are countless people who credit the program with having saved their lives by alerting them to the danger of symptoms they are experiencing.

                                                                                                                                                                  I am disappointed in his providing a platform for those whose advice is questionable and/or products unproven.
                                                                                                                                                                  However, I disagree with claims that he is endorsing them in the strict sense of the word. When I listen to what is presented as expert commentary, I parse their words carefully. I have always noticed that Oz qualifies these people and products with "may" and "might". I agree that placement on his show seems like tacit endorsement but if he were ever sued, I doubt very much that the plaintiff's lawyers would be able to find Oz saying anything definitive about the debatable opinions/advice/products.

                                                                                                                                                                  I would, at this point, expect creditable medical or nutritional professionals to think twice about appearing on his show, for fear of being grouped in with the charlatans.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                    " have always noticed that Oz qualifies these people and products with "may" and "might". "

                                                                                                                                                                    The difference is, the majority of the people who are completely enamored with Dr. Oz don't hear the "may" and "might". They heard the "flowery prose" (as he terms it), and him spouting the marketing crap from the snake oil salesmen, and they think it does do that. Him using words like "miracle" and "life-altering" are what people hear.

                                                                                                                                                              1. I can't believe the mods haven't yanked this thread, but I think it's good. I totally get that this is a food forum, but to think that food and politics are not intertwined would be naive. Food is one of the most political subjects I can think of, so thank you mods! I think we have all behaved respectfully :-)

                                                                                                                                                                1. So his uppance finally came.

                                                                                                                                                                  I have to admit that is one weird word.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. I just planted some of those magic beans. I do believe, I do believe.....

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                                                                                                      If you really believe something is true, the facts don't matter. It's the American way.