The Magical Kingdom of Oz

MV5BMTU3MjI2MjE0NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDA0NDU3Mw@@._V1_SY317_CR15,0,214,317_AL_Hello All, I decided not to lug my laptop on vacation, as it is hard to type with a cocktail in one hand and a guidebook in the other.  Thus, I am leaving you with a terrific segment I recently saw on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.  John Oliver, you may recall, was a reporter on the Daily Show and has left to do his own.  Good stuff, in that it is an ideal combination of actual news and biting commentary.  Plus he swears at work, so I can relate.

This particular segment is about the raging controversy over everyone’s favorite doctor, Dr. Oz, and his questionable marketing of questionable dietary supplements.  Oz uses words like “miraculous” and “magical” to describe supplements that have no scientific basis for their claims and sometimes fail even to include the ingredients listed on the label.  Pharma and biotech executives everywhere are jealous.

gmp-contract-manufacturingDr. Oz recently got called to task in front of Congress for his assertive marketing of these products which, of course, have no FDA oversight until after they start killing people.  Check out this statistic from Oliver’s segment:  when a bill was introduced to put more regulatory oversight in place for supplements, Congress received more mail from constituents than was received in relation to the Vietnam war.  Really.  Wow.  Americans love their vitamins, especially in Flintstones gummy bear form.  Give me diet pills or give me death, or at least a good pair of Spanx!

The John Oliver piece, in addition to making Oz eat some of his words (hopefully that does not blow his diet!), really points out the weird and wacky and way concerning world of supplements and provides some damn good humor along the way.  Oh, and there’s swearing, so if you are sensitive, don’t watch it.

cameron-diaz-1I have to say that one of my favorite parts of the story, because I am immature, starts around 12 minutes into the piece, where Dr. Oz talks about his need to use “flowery language” to engage TV viewers.  John Oliver remarks that Dr. Oz’s motivation to hock these products must be due to how bored he is talking about poop with Cameron Diaz.  Hilarious.

Anyway, worth watching for the 16 minutes or so and a a key topic in healthcare, as nearly 70% of Americans admit to using supplements and spend over $25 billion a year for the privilege.  Pretty interesting since American’s balk at spending $10 on a copay when they are actually sick.  Anyway, enjoy the show!


  1. says

    Good idea Lisa! Leave you laptop behind and enjoy yourself! Maybe “No screens allowed” will replace “No Smoking” signs in 10 years.

    It is amazing how little actually happens while we are away. Screens generally do not induce a state of relaxation unless the user has had a few Kava drinks and is no longer concerned with the urgent distress screams from our screens. Your perspective always brings something fresh to the table. The John Oliver video did not disappoint!

    John Oliver is a cool comedian. He was about 15 and living in Britain when the U.S. natural food industry fought for the right to say things like: capsicum and equisetum are good for circulation and heart health. I remember wise women with vast stores of time tested herbal knowledge being arrested and charged with “practicing medicine without a license” for sharing information on basic topics like: how to relieve constipation with herbs. At that time saying that a vegetable broth or chicken soup could cure a flu was considered “unscientific” and anecdotal. (There were no “double blind studies to confirm the value of chicken soup or vegetable broth.) Seriously, at that time these gentle and very intelligent folks were considered a threat to the enormously powerful and influential AMA.

    Listening to Oliver’s take down of the senators who freed up the natural health industry to share information made me think Oliver could actually be a big Pharma plant. It also ticked me off. Oliver twisted.

    This funny man uses the word “supplements” to describe everything within the natural health world. “Supplements” according to Oliver are always suspicious if they have not been “studied and approved” by an agency that is most likely staffed with people struggling for their own health. Never mind that the FDA is headed by the man who delivered the Human Growth Hormone into our food supply and into our children’s bodies without knowing the long term consequences. I wonder journalist John, if all herbs(plants) are just “suspicious supplements”? Is wholesome nutrition a “suspicious supplement”? Is a walk in a forest a “suspicious supplement” that cannot be said to have value or efficacy towards greater health without 50 years of double blind “scientific” studies by an agency?

    Dr. Oz is a master marketer not unlike the wizards of Pharma. The difference is that the Doc is an easy mark who has not met his quota for political donations to the level that is necessary to escape humiliation.

    Don’t worry John Stewart….Oliver twists…

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