Health

How ‘The Dr. Oz Effect’ Has Hooked American Consumers

Dr. Mehmet C. Oz, vice chairman and professor of surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 17, 2014 , before the Senate subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance hearing to examine protecting consumers from false and deceptive advertising of weight-loss products. (AP Photo)
Dr. Mehmet C. Oz, vice chairman and professor of surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 17, 2014 , before the Senate subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance hearing to examine protecting consumers from false and deceptive advertising of weight-loss products. (AP Photo)

(NBC NEWS) – Senators criticized Dr. Mehmet Oz during a hearing on false diet-product ads on Tuesday –- but does the nation’s most telegenic doctor have any control over the “Dr. Oz Effect” lawmakers say contributes to a whole market of sometimes questionable health products?

According to other physicians who monitor the Dr. Oz brand, the sales pattern is now well worn. On air, Oz talks up certain foods, drinks, supplements or other products –- often with little science to support them.

Soon, online entrepreneurs are pitching –- apparently without the doctor’s approval –- Oz’s quotations as out-right endorsements, hawking alleged cures to anyone with an Internet connection and a credit card, including white mulberry, red palm oil, and brown seaweed. The products are often promised to slash pounds, shed years, boost sleep or conquer the flu, among other claims.

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