The dark history of Dr. Oz quietly promoting the companies he invested in

When sat Dr.

“You might not realize that high-quality probiotics are a proven immune booster,” Oz told the camera, before carrying a small blue-green packet containing a supplement called TruBiotics, which aims to improve health by introducing good bacteria into the gut.

“Two strains of probiotics can strengthen digestive and immune health,” Oz said. “These two complementary strains can be found at TruBiotics.”

It was iconic advice from America’s most eminent television doctor, who built a national brand on dispensing surprising – and surprisingly simple – cures for pervasive health concerns. Fittingly, for a doctor whose daily offering was a promotional cash cow, the place was clearly labeled as sponsored by TruBiotics.

Viewers might have thought the video of Oz delivering TruBiotics was, essentially, an advertisement. But what they weren’t aware of was that Oz was a board member of the brand’s parent company, PanTheryx. He owns a stake in the company worth $1 million.

The full extent of Oz’s financial relationship with PanTheryx – along with several other health supplement companies – was revealed for the first time thanks to personal financial disclosure forms he was asked to file as a Republican candidate for the US Senate in Pennsylvania.

In several other cases, Oz platforms have promoted PanTheryx products without disclosing Oz’s personal financial relationship with the company. In 2018, for example, videos were played on Dr. Oz Show Website sponsored by DiaResQ, another PanTheryx extension. None of the PanTheryx Oz plugged products have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration; One study found DiaResQ “no better than a placebo.”

In his forms, Oz revealed that from 2017 to December 2021 – when he launched his Senate campaign – he was a member of PanTheryx’s board of directors. As of February, Oz has become an advisor to the company, according to his disclosure form, and is due to be awarded more than 700,000 shares of the company’s restricted stock in exchange for three years in business.

In 2019, a press release from PanTheryx announced that Oz would be joining the company’s board of directors. But it is possible that viewers of Oz’s promotional content did not know that the doctor had a direct financial stake in whether they bought or sold the product that Oz was praising its benefits.

Oz has long used his platform – and the trust of his audience – to promote certain products, although in the past he has claimed that he never personally profited from the activity. Under oath at a US Senate committee hearing in 2014, Oz testified that he “never endorsed” “one specific brand” and that “physicians should not endorse it.”

But according to Arthur Kaplan, a leading medical ethicist at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine, Oz’s actions in this case represent a “mountain of conflict of interest.”

“It’s one thing to say, ‘I have commercials on my show that advertise products and I’m going to advertise it. It’s quite a different thing to say, ‘Take this, and I’m not going to tell you, I have it,’ Kaplan said. ‘You simply can’t do what he reveals he did.’

“It’s not illegal,” Kaplan continued, “but certainly, ethically, it’s totally questionable.”

The American Medical Association’s Code of Ethics does not encourage physicians to sell or pay to endorse any health products other than drugs. If they choose to do so, the AMA says physicians have an ethical obligation to disclose “the nature of their financial interest in selling the product(s)”, among other things.

Oz’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment from The Daily Beast, which included questions about his work arrangements with the companies whose products he promoted.

Oz, who is running on a must-do battleground for the Republican Party, has a background arguably unlike any other political player. Leveraging his medical expertise to create a compelling television that brought Oz’s fame, fortune, and power.

But Oz has accumulated a lot of baggage on this track, raising questions about who really served him with his medical advice and massive platform. While Oz faces lengthy scrutiny, his Senate run has prompted a deeper examination of his record and called a new set of questions about how to exercise the rare power granted to a US senator.

For example, Oz’s sprawling financial disclosure forms list a number of complex assets and arrangements stemming from the wealth he’s made in the entertainment business. It has already been shown that these entanglements are complex; They could become more even if he was elected and was in a position to help regulate the complementary industries in which he invests.

“It doesn’t bode well when you are willing to not be transparent about your recommendations,” Kaplan said, “to think that he would be an honest broker in regulating things in the medical field so that he could sway his standing as a Dr. Senator.”

PanTheryx isn’t the only company that generated undisclosed income for Oz while delivering its products. He has also worked extensively at Usana Health Sciences, a Utah-based multilevel marketing company that calls itself the Cellular Nutrition Company.

Usana markets products like the “CellSentials Pack,” which contains a “triple action cellular diet designed to fuel, protect, and rejuvenate optimal cellular health.”

According to Oz’s disclosure form, Usana had two separate compensation arrangements with Oz Media LLC, a shell company associated with his business ventures.

One paid him to “give live and virtual speeches and presentations at Usana events and appear at photo opportunities and other Usana events.” Another notes that he has served as a “brand ambassador” for Usana’s brands through public appearances, “promotional content creation,” interviews, and other activities.

In February, months before Oz’s financial disclosures were filed, Politico cited a court filing in which Oz and his show allegedly received $50 million to promote products from Usana on air.

The Oz campaign disputed this claim, saying only that the $50 million was an “incorrect and inflated” figure and denied that Oz ever benefited directly from the arrangements with Osana.

Usana was an advertising partner for the mergers with Dr. Oz Showwhich was paid for the partnership, not Dr. Mohamed Oz directly,” said Brittany Yannick, a spokeswoman for the Oz Campaign.

But the new documents tell a different story, showing a direct link between Osana and Oz.

They did not reveal how much was paid to Oz Media LLC to promote their brands, but it is almost certain that this money came into Oz’s pocket; Elsewhere on his financial disclosure form, he states that he earned $7 million in income through Oz Media LLC.

There are several instances of Oz hawking Usana’s products on his show. The Dr. Oz Show For example, the website featured Usana products in promotional gifts.

In a 2015 episode, he promoted an unregulated, unproven liver supplement called Hepasil, which is manufactured by Usana. When an audience member asked her if her previous gig might harm her liver in the long run, Oz encouraged her to take a supplement. “I’m going to show you one that I like very much,” he said.

Of course, it was Hebacil, who Oz claimed could help “reverse a lot of things that might have happened” to her liver by stimulating “liver enzymes” through her “patented olive oil.”

This clip sparked criticism at the time – without knowing the full extent of Oz’s relationship with Osana. Michael Hitzlick, business columnist at Los Angeles Timeswrote about the lack of evidence for Oz’s allegations.

“If he thought it might be wise to warn people to be careful about putting a highly unregulated dietary supplement in their bodies, he didn’t,” Hetzlik said.

Noting that Usana is mentioned in the show’s credits as a “trusted care partner,” Hitzlake wrote that “it would be difficult for Oz to to avoid Personal financial gain from this relationship.”

Kaplan, a medical ethicist at New York University, noted the broader problem rooted in OZ’s delivery of nutritional supplements. “He’s pushed a lot of bullshit over the years on the show,” he said. “I’m afraid he’s done more damage by having him bless all sorts of uncertain, compromising interventions for people who are really at risk of serious disease.”

The last time Oz appeared under the spotlight of a Senate hearing, in 2014, he was avoiding the exact kind of scrutiny from lawmakers who could now be his future colleagues.

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), now a prominent member of the Senate Commerce Committee, subjected Oz to a lengthy questioning, which included a question about why he was not selling certain medicinal products.

“You wouldn’t trust me if you came to me for advice, and said, ‘Oh, you got a bumpy finger here, take my copy of the solution cream,'” said Oz. “

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