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Friday, March 22, 2013

Dr. Oz

It starts with "I saw this on Dr. Oz. Can you help me find it?" It ends with "well why did he tell me I could find it in any pharmacy? This IS a pharmacy, right? I'm just going somewhere else where they know what they're doing".
Thank you doctor, for setting back the relationship between doctor-patient-pharmacist. Thank you for reinforcing the "if my doctor says it, it must be true" belief many people hold dear, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Dr. Oz is a paid celebrity endorser. Americans love to take their advice from celebrities. If it's on the Internet or TV, it must be true.
I believe an occasional appearance on a TV program may prove useful and insightful to those watching (his humble Oprah beginnings). I believe a daily program must work hard (read "stretch") to remain relevant, topical, and informative. I also believe in sponsors. I believe in Dr. Oz having many interests that may steer his advice. I know Dr. Oz is a cardio-thoracic surgeon. I believe if I want advice from an expert in that field, I will seek him out for a cardio-thoracic surgical consult. If I am having allergy symptoms or in need of vitamin supplements, he will not be on my call list. If I need a tax law attorney, I am not going to consult my local family law specialist.
Yes, he promotes specific products (bad professional. Bad!). Yes, he promotes alternative medicines. I am not against alternative therapies. I believe if you believe they work, then they work. However, no pharmacist (or doctor) will ever swear "this product is a miracle and will cure you of all that ails you" when recommending a product to you. Dr. Oz does that. Doctors should not be "amazed" and "awed" by how a treatment works. Science backs them. While science is pretty cool, no professional acts as he does. He looks more surprised at results of tests than George W. Bush did when he correctly pronounced all the words of his speeches.
Yes. I have recommended Vick's VapoRub on the soles of feet for a cough remedy. Yes, I have recommended Buckwheat honey as well for some time. There are a few others I keep in my trusty Pharmacist TOOLbox. I do not tell people of the "Supreme awesome power" these possess over the soul of your ailment. Be professional. People do not need whipped into a frenzy.
You are a doctor. This amazement and awestruck attitude only serve to solidify your status as a TV huckster: a 21st Century snake oil salesman. It belittles the good that you can do and sullies the true potential of someone in your position. Oprah Winfrey corrected J.K. Rowling in an interview. That was a terrible moment in journalism. You are cut of the same cloth-thinking you are more important. You do a disservice to those of us in the profession of healthcare who want our patients to come to us. To trust in us. To believe in us. You are working against us, and for all the wrong reasons. Please stop.
Seriously. Please stop.

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