GMO Dr. Oz & Columbia | Natural Health Newsletter

Date: 05/02/2015    Written by: Jon Barron

What the Attack on Dr. Oz Is Really All About

GMO Dr. Oz & Columbia

In mid-April, a group of doctors--let's call them the Gang of Ten--led by Henry Miller of the Hoover Institution, "located" on the Stanford University campus, called for the removal of Dr. Oz from the Columbia faculty because of his "disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine" as well as his promotion of "quack treatments." Dr. Oz is a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon and the vice chair of Columbia's Department of Surgery. Previously, he was a regular contributor to "The Oprah Winfrey Show," but is now best known as the host of "The Dr. Oz Show." The accusations are hypocritical nonsense and come with a disturbing agenda. But before I explain, let me be absolutely clear that:

  • I do not know Dr. Oz personally.
  • I have no financial connection with him.
  • And I disagree with many of the things he has claimed on his show and, on more than one occasion, have detailed my issues with some of those claims.

That said, the attacks on Dr. Oz expressed in the letter to Columbia (as well as in the Senate subcommittee hearings held earlier this year) are demonstrably designed to support Monsanto and the GMO industry as a whole. This is not guesswork. You can actually trace the money back to Monsanto. Let's start by taking a look at the letter in question.

The Letter

Here is the text of the actual letter that was sent to the Columbia School of Medicine: 

Lee Goldman, M.D.
Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine
Columbia University

Dear Dr. Goldman:

I am writing to you on behalf of myself and the undersigned colleagues below, all of whom are distinguished physicians.

We are surprised and dismayed that Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons would permit Dr. Mehmet Oz to occupy a faculty appointment, let alone a senior administrative position in the Department of Surgery.

As described here1 and here,2 as well as in other publications, Dr. Oz has repeatedly shown disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine, as well as baseless and relentless opposition to the genetic engineering of food crops.  Worst of all, he has manifested an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.

Thus, Dr. Oz is guilty of either outrageous conflicts of interest or flawed judgements about what constitutes appropriate medical treatments, or both.  Whatever the nature of his pathology, members of the public are being misled and endangered, which makes Dr. Oz's presence on the faculty of a prestigious medical institution unacceptable.

Sincerely yours,

 

Henry I. Miller, M.D.

Scott W. Atlas, M.D.

Jack Fisher, M.D.

Shelley Fleet, M.D.

Gordon N. Gill, M.D.

Michael H. Mellon, M.D.

Gilbert Ross, M.D.

Samuel Schneider, M.D.

Glenn Swogger Jr. M.D.

Joel E. Tepper, M.D.

 

Certainly, signed by all those MD's, that seems like a powerful indictment of Dr. Oz, but things are not always what they seem. Let's begin by taking each of the claims in the letter and looking at them one at a time.

Disdain for Science and Evidence-Based Medicine

"Dr. Oz has repeatedly shown disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine."

Unfortunately, the historical record shows that much of so-called "evidence-based medicine" turns out to be ineffective or even harmful over time,3 not to mention the fact that, according to a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, only 11% of physicians actually rely on evidenced-based medicine for all their treatments.4 When push comes to shove, some 90% of doctors like to go with their gut at least some of the time. 

Holding Dr. Oz to a standard that 90% of the medical community itself does not follow is incredibly hypocritical to put it kindly. And, as we will see later, coming from this particular group of physicians, it is actually comical.

Opposition to GMO

[Dr. Oz has repeatedly shown a] "baseless and relentless opposition to the genetic engineering of food crops."

First of all, Dr. Oz hasn't expressed "relentless opposition" to GMO. What he has done is relentlessly express his support for GMO labeling. It's a position that I agree with; I just want to see it done at a Federal level, not piecemeal, in multiple variations, state by state. The letter writers' position, however, is that people are too stupid to be told whether or not their food is GMO and should be kept in the dark for their own good--a position that probably does not generate a lot of support outside of Monsanto and its supporters, which happens to include the 10 signatories.

That said, the statement that opposition to GMO is "baseless" is simply not true. Yes, finding consistent scientific support for the position that all GMO is inherently unhealthy turns out to be a Sisyphean task, but finding scientific support for the dangers associated with specific GMO crops is actually quite easy. In particular, there is a heavy cloud that hangs over all of the GMO plants designed to resist pests versus those designed to have optimized traits such as being resistant to freezing. As I've explained before Bt expressing crops have been clearly implicated in the death of valuable insect species such as Monarch butterflies, and there is strong evidence that BT expressing crops are harmful to animals as well. Studies and field observations in Andhra Pradesh and other states in India have shown that sheep, goats, cattle, and buffalo populations exhibit morbidity and mortality after continuous and cumulative exposure to Bt cotton.5 Obviously, this is not definitive for people, but it certainly qualifies as the "basis" for concern and is just the tip of the iceberg.

The evidence against Roundup ready crops is actually much stronger--not because of the GMO itself, but because it looks likely that Roundup is much more toxic than advertised. Yes, Monsanto keeps getting the studies that demonstrate Roundup's toxicity pulled, but the evidence keeps mounting nonetheless.6, 7, 8, 9, 10, etc., etc., etc.. Are there contradictory studies that indicate Roundup is safe? Absolutely!11 But based on the sheer number of recent studies that point in the direction of toxicity, calling concerns about Roundup ready GMO crops "baseless" is anything but an evidence-based pronouncement.

Promoting Quack Treatments for Personal Gain

"Worst of all, he has manifested an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain."

I have a real problem with this one. Going back through the decades, it is not hard to find example after example after example of the medical community promoting what eventually turned out to be quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain--even when contradictory information has become irrefutable. As we have discussed in previous newsletters:

At one time, medical doctors actually worked as spokespeople for the cigarette industry, and the Journal of the American Medical Association ran ads for cigarettes promoting their benefits for weight loss,12 all long after multiple studies were pointing to the danger of cigarettes. And how many people died from that egregious lack of integrity? Several hundred thousand? A million? More? How much money did doctors earn promoting cigarettes? How much money did JAMA earn running those ads? On the other hand, how many doctors were removed from their positions of authority for promoting what ultimately turned out to be a highly dangerous quack cure? None!!!

And then there are trans-fatty acids. Even as those of us in the alternative health community were identifying artificial trans-fats as one of the single biggest contributors to heart disease and premature death, the medical community was promoting their virtues and advising their patients to switch from butter to high trans-fat margarine and high trans-fat baked goods--for health reasons. Now, of course, they are at the forefront of the "ban trans-fatty acids" movement -- and once again, without any acknowledgement of their role in killing hundreds of thousands of people by convincing them to head down the trans-fat road to heart attacks. Again, how many doctors lost their positions as the result of promoting this deadly quack cure? None!

I could go on and on. For example, there's also: angioplasty, hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants except in cases of extreme depression, and the use of statins for people who have never had a heart attack. The bottom line is that the medical community has frequently pitched what ultimately turned out to be quite deadly quackery. And no one ever calls them to task for it, or requests anyone's removal from their job.

Misled and Endangered the Public

"Thus, Dr. Oz is guilty of either outrageous conflicts of interest or flawed judgments about what constitutes appropriate medical treatments, or both.  Whatever the nature of his pathology, members of the public are being misled and endangered, which makes Dr. Oz's presence on the faculty of a prestigious medical institution unacceptable."

First off, you've got to love the use of the word "pathology" in the letter. The doctors are calling Dr. Oz's actions "the manifestations of a disease." Talk about a purely highly prejudicial, non-evidence based word-bomb! And we won't even discuss the doctors who consult for the FDA and help decide what drugs get approved while having financial ties to the drugs they are advising on--Vioxx being just one example.13 And how many people died from the "nature of that pathology?" Low end estimates are 27,785.14 And guess how many doctors lost their positions over that fiasco. Yes, that's right: none.

So Doctor Oz pitched the questionable benefits of green coffee bean extract for weight loss. Even WebMD indicated it might work.15 So, some people lost a small amount of money. But no one died! Right now, despite a few hyperbolic claims, Dr. Oz is looking a lot better than many others in the medical community.

Signatories

At this point, I think it's worth taking a look at the doctors who signed the letter, for it is there that we begin to learn what the true purpose of the letter really was. Let's start with the person who drafted the letter and whose signature is first on the list: Henry I. Miller, M.D. Perhaps, we can learn something from his background that might lead us to question his objectivity.

Henry I. Miller, M.D.

Dr. Miller is the Robert Wesson Fellow in Scientific Philosophy and Public Policy at the Hoover Institution.16 The Hoover Institution is a conservative think tank located on the Stanford University campus. Its primary objectives are to promote less government, reduced regulation, and laissez-faire capitalism. Dr. Miller's research focuses on public policy as it relates to science and technology. This encompasses a number of areas, including pharmaceutical development, genetic engineering in agriculture, models for regulatory reform (i.e., reducing all industry regulations), and the emergence of new viral diseases.17 As we can see, he is not a practicing physician but, essentially, a spokesperson for the pharmaceutical and GMO industries.

Before assuming his position at Hoover, Dr. Miller was one of the original members of the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH).18 The ACSH, which was founded in 1978 and describes itself as "a consumer education consortium." Over the years, the Council has chosen to "educate" the public about the wonderful benefits and safety of GMO foods, pesticides, and herbicides. Not surprisingly, the ACSH actively solicits and receives funding from corporations supported by ACSH positions--positions such as opposition to GMO labeling.19 Curiously, even though the ACSH unabashedly supports GMO, high fructose corn syrup,20 artificial sweeteners,21 the carbonated beverage industry,22 they are actually anti-tobacco, pointing out the negative long-term effects of smoking. On the other hand, they are pro e-cigarettes and are opposed to any government regulation of the industry.23 As it turns out, despite his association with ACSH, Dr. Miller's principals are available to the highest bidder.

In 1993, Dr. Miller moved on from the ACHS (at least officially) to become one of the two founding members of The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC). TASSC's original funding came from Philip Morris, which was attempting to discredit research that connected long-term cigarette smoking with increased cancer and heart problems.24 Not surprisingly, given where their money came from, TASSC adopted industry-friendly positions on a wide range of topics, including cigarette smoking, global warming, phthalates, and pesticides. In other words, they promoted industry friendly positions for any industry that paid them money.

And finally, Dr. Miller was effectively hired by Monsanto (the lead funder of the anti-California-GMO-labeling initiative, Prop 3725) and became the voice of the opposition to Prop 37.26 For Dr. Miller to accuse Dr. Oz of promoting bad ideas "in the interest of personal financial gain" is the living definition of hypocrisy.

Scott W. Atlas, M.D.

If it was just Dr. Miller, the author and driving force behind the anti Dr. Oz letter, there still might be reasons to take the letter seriously--assuming the other signatories were legit. As it turns out, no need to worry in that regard; they're not.

Dr. Atlas is the second signatory. Like Dr. Miller, he is a member of the Hoover Institution. It should be noted that although the Hoover Institution lists its address as Stanford University, it is not actually affiliated with Stanford. It is a conservative think tank that pays for the privilege of having its address on the Stanford campus. It is independently funded by corporate grants and independent donations from individuals such as Richard Mellon Scaife and the Koch brothers, as well as several oil companies27--just to make sure that climate change remains debatable (more on this later).28 And it has its own administrators and board of directors, all of whom are entirely separate from Stanford. The bottom line is that as a member of the Hoover Institution, Dr. Atlas harbors a paid bias on behalf of pharmaceutical development and genetic engineering in agriculture. No wonder he is opposed to Dr. Oz.

Gilbert Ross, M.D.

And we saved the best for last: Dr. Gilbert Ross. Dr. Ross is the acting president and executive director of Dr. Miller's former organization, ACSH.29 Why should that be a problem beyond what we've already discussed concerning the ASCH--especially if you read Dr. Atlas' bio on the ACSH site?30 His credentials are impeccable. He was a member of the faculty of Cornell University Medical School, Stony Brook Medical School, and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He was also a member of the attending staff at North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Hospital, as well as the New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens. All very impressive. The problem is in what his ACSH bio doesn't tell you. As it turns out, Dr. Ross's medical license was revoked in 1995 by a unanimous vote of the state administrative review board for professional misconduct after it was revealed that he had been involved in a scheme that defrauded the New York State Medicaid system of $8 million.31, 32 He was convicted of "engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity," "nine counts of money laundering," and "mail fraud" and  was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison and barred from participating in Medicare and Medicaid for ten years.33 In addition to his prison sentence, Dr. Ross was ordered to forfeit $40,000 and pay restitution of $612,855--an amount later reduced to $85,137 on the grounds that he didn't have the assets to pay more. In 1997, a judge sustained his 10 year banishment from Medicare and Medicaid, stating that he was "a highly untrustworthy individual" who had engaged in "practices that were medically indefensible."34

Keep in mind, Dr. Ross just signed a letter accusing Dr. Oz of "flawed judgment," "lack of integrity," and acting "in the interest of personal financial gain." Shameless!

The Other Seven Signatories

Although not quite as bad as the first three, they nevertheless all have industry ties that pretty much negate any semblance of impartiality.

Putting Things in Perspective

Columbia University recognized the letter and signatories for what they were and dismissively responded by saying, "Columbia is committed to the principle of academic freedom and to upholding faculty members' freedom of expression for statements they make in public discussion." Or in other words, "Go stuff yourselves!"

Unfortunately, the mainstream media was not so savvy. Seeing all the MD's after the signatories' names, they took the letter seriously and published the story with headlines like:

  • Even Dr. Oz's Boss Thinks He's 'Full Of [It]'.35
  • Doctors Call for Dr. Oz Firing From Columbia Med School Board: ‘He's a Quack, ‘Fake,' ‘Charlatan.'36
  • Colleagues want Dr. Oz off Columbia University staff.37
  • Top Doctors Demand Columbia University Remove Dr. Oz From His Faculty Position.38 (Really! These are "top" doctors?)

And that's exactly the point. The letter from Dr. Miller and the Gang of Ten was never about getting Dr. Oz fired; it was about discrediting in the press so that his position on GMO labeling would also be discredited--viewed as unscientific, as a quackery if you will. And thanks to the lack of in-depth reporting by the media, which made no effort to identify who these MD's were and what they represented and who funded the main drivers behind the letter, that purpose was largely accomplished.

And why did the Gang of Ten do this? Keep in mind that the goal of every organization (other than the FDA) that Dr. Miller and the other signatories have been associated with over the last number of years has been to promote the agenda of their corporate backers. And right now, that puts GMO front and center.

Will Dr. Oz continue on in his position at Columbia Medical School? If he's doing a good job there, which he seems to be doing, then yes, he most likely will continue. Columbia seems to be standing behind him so far. Will he continue with his TV show? Again, if the ratings hold up, then yes, he will likely continue.

But has he been damaged as a credible voice against GMO with the public at large and with Congressional legislators? Thanks to the media's uncritical support of the letter, as well as the recent Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security that censored Dr. Oz, the answer to that question is "yes." He has been damaged. And let's talk about the Senate subcommittee hearings for a moment, since it's not unconnected from the Miller letter. In fact, this is how we know the true purpose of the Miller letter since the same people that were behind the Miller letter were behind the Senate hearings. Let me explain.

The two strongest voices against Dr. Oz in those hearings were Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt, Missouri's two senators. Both senators received substantial donations from the pharmaceutical industry and Monsanto. It's not a coincidence that these two conspired to bring down Dr. Oz in their hearings as well as being identified as prime supporters of what became known as the "Monsanto Protection Act." This act, which has in fact passed thanks to the efforts of Senators McCaskill and Blunt, prevents anyone from suing Monsanto for any health issues resulting from GMO crops.39 Make no mistake; it is not a coincidence that these two events--the Senate subcommittee hearings on Dr. Oz and the letter to Columbia--happened back to back. They are part of a coordinated attack to discredit Dr. Oz. If you haven't connected the dots yet, let me do that for you now.

Dr. Bob Arnot, the former NBC News "chief medical correspondent," recently pointed out in a CNN interview that all ten signatories to the Miller letter have "industry ties," and that industry is "furious that he's taken on genetically modified crops." Dr. Arnot literally called the letter signatories "industry henchmen who are after Dr. Oz."40

There is no coincidence here. The same corporations that fund the activities of most of the Gang of Ten also fund the campaigns of Senators McCaskill and Blunt. Their goal is not to get Dr. Oz fired (that would be a bonus if that happened) but to undermine his credibility so that neither the public nor the rest of Congress will give any credence to his position on GMO. Whereas readers of this newsletter are unlikely to be swayed by their activities, it is, unfortunately, highly likely that the public at large and a majority of Congress will be swayed. You should be very concerned.

I have made my position on GMO very clear. I know it's not popular with many in the alternative health community who believe that purity trumps practicality, but I believe that fighting to ban GMO foods is futile, at least at this time in history. All you have to do is look at the ever growing number of GMO crops that are being approved and their spread throughout the world to see the way things are trending. Just last month, despite everything written in alternative health blogs, the FDA approved two more GMO crops: Arctic Apples and Innate Potatoes.41  As Bob Dylan said: you really don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. I believe that for better or worse GMO foods are inevitable and unstoppable in the near term, so we need to figure out how to deal with that fact. I agree with Dr. Oz that we should have sensible GMO labeling now--but as controlled by Federal law, not by a multitude of varying state laws. Then let the GMO companies and the scientific community make their case. If Monsanto can convince the public that specific GMO products are safe, then more power to them and let sales grow. On the other hand, if evidence continues to emerge that certain aspects of GMO products--such as the excessive use of Roundup--are problematic, then those products should be pulled from the market. Conversely, paying legislators to pass laws that hide the truth from the public and that forces people to eat foods of unknown origin is simply intolerable.

And if nothing else, you would think that every single doctor who truly believed in evidenced-based medicine would actually stand with Dr. Oz on this issue and completely support open GMO labeling. Why? Quite simply, if there is no way of knowing what GMO foods people are eating, researchers will never be able to do a cohort study in the future to determine the long term consequences (if any) of eating GMO foods. Future research would be impossible because the data would not be available.  Science actually demands the labeling of foods for this reason, if no other. For any scientist or medical doctor to oppose GMO labeling, they have to stand for willful ignorance.

Finally, you would think that if Monsanto was so sure that the results of such studies would be positive, they would welcome open labeling--after all, they would ultimately be vindicated and supported by future studies. All concerns about GMO safety would fall away, and the market for GMO foods would exponentially explode. Monsanto would literally stand astride the world's food supply. Instead, they back groups like the Hoover Institution to fight open labeling and they pay members of Congress to pass legislation that protect them from lawsuits if GMO foods are not safe. One can only wonder why they are doing things and continually causing people to doubt their motives. What does Monsanto know that they are not telling us? (That was a rhetorical question, by the way.)

John Oliver

Remember how I mentioned that even though Columbia ignored the Gang of Ten, getting rid of Dr. Oz was never their intent. Acting on Monsanto's behalf and discrediting Dr. Oz in the court of public opinion was their true purpose--as well as the purpose of the Senate subcommittee hearings. I also thought that strategy was likely to play well. Well, right on cue, John Oliver devoted a 16 minute segment of the April 26th edition of his show, Last Week Tonight, to Dr. Oz—and ripped him apart. He acknowledged that perhaps the doctors who came after Dr. Oz may have had industry ties, but said it didn’t matter.

I think we’ve pretty much covered why it actually does matter.

But then John cited the December 2014 study published in the British Medical Journal that focused on the reliability of the things Dr. Oz promotes on his TV show.42 The study concluded that of the health recommendations that appear on his show, researchers found evidence to support only 46 percent of  Dr. Oz’s recommendations. Unfortunately, that 46 percent figure may not mean quite what John Oliver thinks it means. He assumed it meant that 54% of the time, Dr. Oz is giving unscientific, bad advice--dangerous advice. But, in fact, that’s not what the numbers in the study actually mean. The percentage breakdown from the study is as follows.

  • 46% of the time the advice given by Dr. Oz is backed by credible research.
  • 15% of the time, the advice directly contradicts best available evidence.
  • 39% of the time, the researchers found that existing studies are insufficient to support the advice.

Let’s pretend that the 15% of the recommendations that contradicts best available evidence might actually be wrong. That leaves 39% to account for. The researchers didn’t actually say those recommendations were wrong, just that there wasn’t enough evidence to support them. But keep in mind, it took researchers almost 100 years after John Harvey Kellogg began talking about diverticular disease to recognize its existence. Diverticular disease is now known to affect virtually 100% of all Americans if they live long enough. Think about that for a moment.  It took decades for studies to finally support the importance of fiber in the diet. It also took decades for the evidence to become “sufficient” to finally support the dangers of trans-fatty acids. And it took decades for the evidence to become sufficient to support the dangers of lead in the environment.

Just because the evidence is insufficient to support a popular alternative health position at the moment, doesn’t mean that position is wrong--especially if the circumstantial and anecdotal evidence is strong. And think how much healthier you are now—alive even—if you listened to the alternative community and didn’t believe the doctors who told you to eat high trans-fat margarines instead of butter before the evidence became “sufficient” to convince them otherwise. The bottom line is that 85% of the time Dr. Oz has given advice that is either supported by science or has notable circumstantial evidence behind it and is still being investigated. When you think about it, that makes your odds some 800% better of getting good advice from Dr. Oz than from a medical doctor who only practices evidence-based medicine 10% of the time—just saying!

At this point, you might be inclined to say, "Yes, but, Jon, your conclusions all based on a single study in which doctors say they don't practice evidence-based medicine. Do you have a more specific argument?" Yes, it's called off-label prescribing. I've explained before about this widespread problem where doctors order up a medication for you for a purpose other than that originally approved by the FDA. For instance, a common off-label application occurs when a patient complains of insomnia and the doctor prescribes antidepressants, although the FDA has not approved antidepressants for insomnia, only for cases of depression. In 2001, off-label prescriptions accounted for at least 21 percent of pharmaceutical sales, amounting to at least 150 million prescriptions annually.43In fact, once a drug has been approved for any condition, physicians frequently prescribe it for other applications based on what they hear in passing from other doctors. About seventy-five percent of the time, there's a complete lack of clinical evidence supporting the efficacy or safety of the off-label application. Once you understand the reality, Dr. Oz's recommendations start looking more in line with standard medical practice.

Am I upset with John Oliver for his particularly nasty comments on Dr. Oz? Not really. Actually, I like John and feel more sorry for him than anything. He got conned by the very same people who lead the charge against taking action on climate change. No really! We're talking about the very same people--both the Hoover Foundation and ACSH are at the forefront of stopping all action on climate change.44, 45 And no matter what your view on climate change, knowing how passionate John is about the issue, it's going to really be embarrassing for him when he eventually realizes who he's climbed into bed with and tied his credibility to in his attack on Dr. Oz. In fact, I wonder if he'll still think their industry connections really don't matter. Ouch!

Conclusion

Again, this newsletter was not an endorsement of Dr. Oz or the supplements he sells. As I mentioned earlier, I don't know him personally. I have no financial connection with him, and I disagree with the "magic bullet" approach to health he often espouses. It is, however, an attempt to give you a context for that attack so that you understand what's really going on here and why the orchestrated attack on Dr. Oz is really about your right to be informed about the food you buy--and indirectly, about your right to buy the supplements you want. 

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  • 13. Geraldine Ryerson-Cruz. "FDA Says It Screened Merck, Pfizer Drug Panelists for Conflicts." Bloomberg. February 26, 2005. (22 Apr 2015.) http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=anvrTAdDIXrU&refer=us
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  • 17. Henry I. Miller
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  • 26. Marc Lifsher. "TV ad against food labeling initiative Proposition 37 is pulled." LA Times. October 04, 2012. (Accessed 23 Apr 2015.) http://articles.latimes.com/2012/oct/04/business/la-fi-mo-anti-proposition-37-ad-pulled-20121004
  • 27. Rick Carp. "Who Pays for Think Tanks?" FAIR Jul 01, 2013. (23 Apr 2015.) http://fair.org/extra-online-articles/who-pays-for-think-tanks/
  • 28. Terry Anderson. "Hot Air on Climate Change." Hoover Institution. June 12, 2014. (Accessed 23 Apr 2015.) http://www.hoover.org/research/hot-air-climate-change
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  • 31. Bill Hogan. "Paging Dr. Ross" Mother Jones, November 2005. (Accessed 24 Apr 2015.) http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2005/11/paging-dr-ross
  • 32. "MATTER OF ROSS v. NEW YORK ST. DEPT. OF HLT." Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Third Department. 226 A.D.2d 863 (N.Y. App. Div. 1996) Casetext.com (Accessed 24 Apr 2015.) https://casetext.com/case/matter-of-ross-v-new-york-st-dept-of-hlt
  • 33. "In the Cases of: Gilbert Ross, M.D., and Deborah Williams, M.D., Petitioners, -v. -The Inspector General." Department of Health and Human Services DEPARTMENTAL APPEALS BOARD Civil Remedies Division. June 16, 1997. (Accessed 24 Apr 2015.) http://www.hhs.gov/dab/decisions/civildecisions/1997/cr478.pdf
  • 34. In the Cases of
  • 35. Dan Diamond. "Even Dr. Oz's Boss Thinks He's 'Full Of [It]'." Forbes. 4/21/2015. (Accessed 23 Apr 2015.) http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2015/04/21/even-dr-ozs-boss-thinks-hes-full-of-it/
  • 36. Joe Otterson. "Doctors Call for Dr. Oz Firing From Columbia Med School Board: ‘He's a Quack, ‘Fake,' ‘Charlatan'." The Wrap. Apr 17, 2015. (23 Apr 2015.) http://www.thewrap.com/doctors-call-for-dr-oz-firing-from-columbia-med-school-board-hes-a-quack-fake-charlatan/
  • 37. Aileen Graef. "Colleagues want Dr. Oz off Columbia University staff." UPI April 17, 2015. (Accessed 23 Apr 2015.) http://www.upi.com/Entertainment_News/2015/04/17/Colleagues-want-Dr-Oz-off-Columbia-University-staff/5801429294848/?st_rec=7861429709551
  • 38. VERENA DOBNIK. "Top Doctors Demand Columbia University Remove Dr. Oz From His Faculty Position." Huff Post. 04/21/2015. (Accessed 23 Apr 2015.) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/17/dr-oz-complaint_n_7085178.html
  • 39. Justin Wingerter. "Sen. Blunt Crafts Provision To Aid Monsanto, A Big Donor." CBS St. Louis. April 4, 2013. (Accessed 23 Apr 2015.) http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2013/04/04/sen-blunt-crafts-provision-to-aid-monsanto-a-big-donor/
  • 40. http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2015/04/19/rs-did-dr-oz-break-the-publics-trust.cnn
  • 41. "FDA concludes Arctic Apples and Innate Potatoes are safe for consumption." FDA March 20, 2015. (Accessed 26 Apr 2015.) http://www.fda.gov/newsevents/newsroom/pressannouncements/ucm439121.htm
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  • 44. "Public Health Panel Rips Draconian Measures Pushed by Global-Warming Doomsters." ACSH October 14, 1997. (Accessed 28 Apr 2015.) http://acsh.org/1997/10/public-health-panel-rips-draconian-measures-pushed-by-global-warming-doomsters/
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Comments

  •  
    Submitted by alison on
    May 3, 2015 - 7:27pm

    Thank you Jon for a rational, well articulated article. I hope this article will be posted through some of the internet media that doesn't normally follow alternative (rational) points of view. If it does perhaps there will be some newly enlightened. For those who are not used to thinking for themselves.

  •  
    Submitted by Dr. Joel Fischer on
    May 3, 2015 - 7:30pm
    Honolulu , Hawaii

    Wow, Jon Baron. Your article defending the Wizard of Oz is close to astounding. It is astounding in the passion you put intro it. It is astounding in the resources you rounded up to support your position. But it is most astounding, therefore, more accurately, not astounding at all that you relied on some references that were just opinions about evidence-based practice (EBP) and only one study about clinicians' use of EBP as though you have found the final word. it is my opinion that you are clueless about EBP, with no real conception about how important the effort is to continue to bring EBP to all physicians in the country. You claiming EBP is ineffective does not have a shred of, yes, evidence to support that claim.

    As far as john Oliver goes, c'mon, chill. The piece on the Wizard was hilarious. And Oz does himself a huge disservice by defending himself by attacking his distractors rather than the arguments and ideas they support. Ad hominem, defenses are the weakest defenses there are. And it didn't help the Wizard when he showed that the word "doctor" on his logo was really small compared to the other other words on the logo, e.g., his name. What was he trying to say, that his MD only barely applies when he is doing his entertainment and promotions?

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    May 4, 2015 - 9:49am

    Dr. Fischer:

    Thank you for your comments, and we certainly appreciate the spirit in which they were given. That said…You may want to reread the article. Jon never said that EBP is “ineffective” or unimportant. What he said is that many doctors don’t actually practice it. They oftentimes willfully ignore it when practicing medicine. And he didn’t just rely one study as you indicated. In fact, he specifically addressed that issue in the section of the newsletter that begins:

    “At this point, you might be inclined to say, "Yes, but, Jon, your conclusions are all based on a single study in which doctors say they don't practice evidence-based medicine. Do you have a more specific argument?" Yes, it's called off-label prescribing.”

    And with a very conservative 150 million prescriptions written each year not actually based on verified evidenced, it pretty much speaks for itself. 150 million is not an insignificant number—and that’s a conservative estimate. Again, Jon isn’t saying that EBP is bad. All he’s saying is that if you’re going to attack Oz for not practicing “EB talk show hosting” (we’re not talking about medicine here, just talk show hosting), then you shouldn’t be writing 150 million non-EBP prescriptions a year as part of standard medical practice. In other words: practice what you preach. Pretty sure you would agree with that.

    As for Dr. Oz’s self-defense on his show, you are absolutely correct. It was pathetically pathetic!!!

    Bottom line: it would seem that you and Jon are actually pretty much in agreement across the board.

  •  
    Submitted by Dr. Joel Fischer on
    May 3, 2015 - 7:36pm
    Honolulu , Hawaii

    Sorry. Wrote too much in my "comment" and got dinged. Just wanted to say one thing. I support Oz continuing his work as a physician. What he does outside his real job should be irrelevant
    to what he does as a surgeon. That letter was way out of line in calling for his dismissal from his job.

    Here's all he needs to do about his show: Put a written disclaimer at the start of his show and repeat it orally at thew start of his show that the show is not making medical recommendations
    is for entertainment and information purposes only.

    And BTW, go Oz and Baron on GMO labeling!

    Aloha,joel

  •  
    Submitted by Joe Robinson on
    May 3, 2015 - 7:46pm
    Novato , California

    Generally speaking I actually enjoy the Dr. Oz show. When it first aired it was the first national TV show featuring alternative & common sense things on nutrition and health issues in general. His explanations were down to earth and very understandable to a wide range of people who only hear from their M.D.s...who essentially pass on what the Medical Association passes on as dogma.

    One thing I always notice on his show is the audience, most of them are overweight women. Odd....but those are the people who need down to earth explanations.

  •  
    Submitted by pati on
    May 4, 2015 - 7:18am
    Massachusetts

    JOE ROBINSON....HOW RUDE!!!!!

  •  
    Submitted by Elliot Feldman on
    May 3, 2015 - 8:22pm
    Belleville , New Jersey

    Wow, thanks for this article! It really gets to the bottom (and I mean the dregs) of what is really going on. What I especially like about all your writing is the fairness you exhibit. Much appreciated.

  •  
    Submitted by France Rowland on
    May 3, 2015 - 9:08pm
    Gig Harbor , Washington

    Nice article Jon! It's important to remember, Dr Oz is some people's first introduction to a different paradigm, and for that I think he is performing a valuable service! People should not feel powerless and unable to change their state of health without the permission of their doctor and the prescriptions they write. Thank you.

  •  
    Submitted by Michael Anderson on
    May 3, 2015 - 9:18pm
    Washington

    Well Done Jon.

    Very Articlulate and objective and truth seeking, which is what we need more of from our advisors and health professionals.

    It also is worth mentioning that Dr. Oz has been slandered repeatedly by internet marketers, suggesting that he endorses their baseless marketing claims. This is not true.

    I admire his courage and faith and willingness to try new things, and put some of that information out there to people looking for something that may help them.

    I admire you - for who you are, and your excellent work. Your products and integrity are second to none. Please do continue to post your insightful articles relative to modern health issues.

    Personally I am sick to my stomach that sorry ass souls of temporary power are so easily bought - for just money - like this gang of ten.

    I also finding it sickening that little men hide behind corporations, and can be so purely intentionally deceitful in their disregard for God's earth and mother nature.

    In a few short years they will soon be in a rocking chair, looking back on their life of manipulation and greed, and how they spent their years, and they'll know what they have coming on the other side of life.

    There is an entire generation rising - to replace them.

  •  
    Submitted by Kathy Hoffman on
    May 3, 2015 - 9:29pm
    Plainfield , New Jersey

    Hey Jon...Thank you!! For standing up against these money grubbing M.D's and Monsanto, the Koch Brothers etc. I'm sick of the big money telling lie after lie to the American people. The fact is GMO's can kill and companies like Monsanto should not be given a green light to use the public as their guinea pigs. Dr Oz is brave to stand up against the money giants and I'm glad we have people like him who care enough to blow the truth whistle on them all. As for those 10 MD's who signed that letter....perhaps they should be forced to eat GMO foods every day. Then lets see what money can do for them when their insides are blistered and ulcerated and they can no longer crap unless it's inside a bag. Go get em tiger!!!

  •  
    Submitted by Neri Kawashima on
    May 3, 2015 - 10:01pm
    Kawasaki City, Japan ,

    THANK YOU JON BARRON! I don't live in the US but I am sure there are a lot of GMO foods distributed even to Japan so this makes me and my family accessible to them without proper labeling. I am an advocator of good health and alternative treatment of deceases.I only heard of Dr. Oz from some Yahoo news I got. I have never seen him in TV either have watched any of his programs. You have stated your position regarding this issue and I really appreciate and owe to congratulate you. I have always respected and admire you as a person and as proponent of fairness. More power to you and your stand against political propaganda and malice-driven media coverage.

  •  
    Submitted by Robert E. Yorke on
    May 3, 2015 - 11:59pm
    Riverside , California

    Thank you so much for this extremely informative post...very enlightening and valuable...!

  •  
    Submitted by Brenda Gudiel on
    May 4, 2015 - 12:27am
    Chicago , Illinois

    Dr. Oz defended himself on his show and revealed the ties to Monsanto that these doctors have. He hired an investigative reporter who found this out for him. So I was happy to see that Dr. Oz didn't cave and instead stood up for himself on his show. As far as John Oliver, this is not the first time he has spoken negatively about the alternative industry on his show. I remember seeing a clip of his show once where he said that the supplement industry should be regulated by The FDA because too many people are being scammed and their health harmed because it's not. His overall speech was giving the impression that supplements are not safe, and are mostly scams. All while ignoring the harm that prescription drugs do that The FDA regulates so well obviously. I don't watch his show because of his ignorance.

  •  
    Submitted by BOb on
    May 4, 2015 - 1:06am

    A very good read and I like that you call a spade a spade and give and take credit away for the sake of calling a spade " a spade." I am not to sure what "evidence base means" as practitioners tend to fall into groups and abide by the beliefs of that group and pick and choose what they want to read. I know of doctors who do not believe in the benefits of Coq10 based on what they have chosen to read and i know of doctors who do because they have seen it first hand. For myself I want to know if it works based on people being fixed rather than whether or not loads of money have been spent trying to identify the key mechanisms and variables so that a paper can be written. I am astounded that there are 50,000 plus papers on Vitamin C if science was so conclusive in itself then why so many papers and on going new discoveries. I think a good healer has to have good instincts and wisdom to know how to handle the data and the public a method to be able to find such people.

  •  
    Submitted by Susan MA MSc MA (UK) on
    May 4, 2015 - 5:38am
    Southampton, UK ,

    Really excellent scholarly article, Jon.

    We in the UK are very against GMO foods and the march of Monsanto. I can really believe the unscrupulous and underhand 'dirty tricks' campaigns that are promoted under the guise of genuine health concerns and progress!

    Personally, I do not take up medical promotional initiatives as advocated by the NHS here in the UK although free of charge! -; rather prefer to look after my own health, resorting to alternative medicine on the rare occasions that I become unwell!

  •  
    Submitted by Robin S. on
    May 4, 2015 - 10:45am
    Apple Valley , Minnesota

    I may not be a scientist, but even I know that genetically altering the food supply is not a good idea, all the way from crops to what we feed and inject into livestock. We need the truth-in-labeling for GMOs as well as pesticides. As consumers who spend a lot of money on groceries, we should be able to make the choice for ourselves and our families of what we prefer.

    Thank you Jon B., for supplying the Whole Story. I loved it!!!

  •  
    Submitted by John B Leeds, UK on
    May 5, 2015 - 4:06am

    Obviously full of the truth and essential warnings about GM food.
    For years now I and my wife have discussed diet but our positions on this move closer and closer and Jon's work on the campaign against Dr. Oz was very interesting and lit up the huge damage this Monsanto is actually doing to the whole world's food chain.
    Of interest may be my basic diet of ferments, Sour Krout, Corned beef and New Zealand lamb (grass fed) and recently introduced, Jon's Proteolytic Enzymes!

    Our site is www.bizbodysoul and contains essential extra info to obtain good health.

    Well done Jon keep up the good work.

  •  
    Submitted by Martin on
    May 5, 2015 - 8:39am
    Sometown , Pennsylvania

    Of course it is a money thing. And jealousy/ greed. Isn't it always? Evidence based practice is hogwash when so many studies are flawed to promote profit. As far as the disclaimer "these findings have not been evaluated by the FDA" : the FDA has proven that it is not omnipotent of all that heals. As a health educator who has counseled thousands, my experience shows it is no longer just a theory that modern medicine prolongs the cycle of disease rather than cures or even promotes healing. Dr. Oz is sharing with an allopathically brain-washed world that there are alternatives; and likewise, agribusiness (the "FDA" inclusive) could care less of the health of the masses when their profits are their only motivator.

  •  
    Submitted by John White on
    May 5, 2015 - 12:06pm
    Lufkin , Texas

    This was a very good article, and is representative of "astroturfing" tactics we see every day. I would like to add one thing I might have missed, and that is the bi-partasin duo, senators Blunt (R) and McCaskill (D), are the two senators from Missouri, Monsanto's headquarters.

    I'm sure readers would be shocked if they found that Monsanto had helped these two get re-elected?

  •  
    Submitted by Diane Beard on
    May 5, 2015 - 7:48pm
    Burlington ,

    Jon Barron, you always say it like it is. I loved your first issue of "Lessons from the Miracle Doctors" so much I bought the second, updated issue. You write in a way that makes everything so clear. I have Facebook shared and Tweeted your article and thank you!

    I am surprised that the FDA has not done to Dr. Oz what they did to Berzinski by now. Of course he waited until he was both famous and popular before he told us how he really felt about the poisons in our food supply by pesticide or deliberate inclusion. I believe we are winning the war against Monsanto and in 10 years antibiotics will be a thing of the past and it's a step in the right direction. We won the tobacco war, to a point, so I have hope. In the meantime, I will eat organic and continue to read great articles by learned people like you! Thanks
    Diane

  •  
    Submitted by Heike Schroeder on
    May 7, 2015 - 8:22am
    Hanover, Ontario ,

    Thank you Jon for such well researched and balanced articles ! I wish there was a way of giving your ideas the same exposure impact of Dr. Oz; but then you would have to beat back the corporate money men all the time, as well .

    I clearly remember going to Disney World about 25 years ago and attending the Monsanto pavilliion, where they were one of the first to have used a 360 degree filming technique to show their farmlands - in full pastoral colours and inlcuding small town churches and people riding around in wagons. It was soooo convincing and had all the feel and look of "natural life" that I thought they were the best company - there to promote our well being well into the future !

    I also clearly remember a few years ago, reading how Monsanto treated the Saskatchewan farmer who found Roundup plants on his property (from a neighbour's seeds) and was sued by Monsanto for using them, when he had in fact, resisted the use of all Roundup products. That case was precedent setting for all farmers whose crops are " infected" by Monsanto Roundup plants, despite their best efforts to keep them out.

    Last year I read that farmers are growing heirloom corn in the mountains in Mexcio - as far from commercial fields as possible - in order to maintain the seed purity. They found that even high in the mountains, their crops had been infiltrated by Monsanto plants (seeds borne on the winds ?)

    In any cases like this, Monsanto now has legal precedence to sue for illegal use of their product, even where farmers are doing everything to keep it out. Insane !

    So, it hasn't taken very long for Monsanto plants to taint our entire food chain, whether selected by the farmer or not and then, like a war machine, destroy all those 'little' people that would be our canaries in the coal-mine.

    It makes me physically ill to think of the bees and other insects much needed to grow crops, butterflies, birds, water tables -- and ultimately, people, that have been harmed by a company that will sell out the health of its own children to accumulate more and more and more ... money. They are creating the diseases that Big Pharma will make more and more and more money, helping us to "live with it".

    I live in a farm community where Monsanto signs are posted everyywhere, and now, even in spring, there are dust clouds behind the tractors plowing and the earth is gray, like concrete.

  •  
    Submitted by maggie rosier on
    August 23, 2015 - 3:46am
    UK ,

    only just got around to reading the article on Dr. Oz. and wish to say THANK YOU. (have not vested interest either) but must say
    there is nothing more insidious than the abhorent tactics of Monsanto and those other toxic chemical companies with so much power. Let's make sure they don't get away with it.

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