Like Donald Trump, Dr. Mehmet Oz appears to be a shameless self-promoter who loves the spotlight. And like Donald Trump, Dr. Oz is using his Fox News spotlight to shamelessly promote, using dubious research, the use of chloroquine to treat COVID-19. Real world scientists appear to disagree.
As Newshounds’ Ellen documented, Fox News is “relentlessly” pimping the use of hydroxychloroquine as a way to deal with COVID-19, despite medical authorities, such as a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, who say not so fast. Not so coincidentally, Trump has a financial connection to the drug. And not so coincidentally, Fox News has made it their sacred mission to talk up the drug whenever possible. And as part of their sales pitch, they are using the medical, uh, expertise (?!) of TV doctor Mehmet Oz.
Yesterday, Fox & Friends opened the discssion with some positive news about the drug. Of course, cohost Steve Doocy cited Trump’s hope for its efficacy in treating the coronavirus (COVID-19). He referenced a Murdoch-owned NY Post article about hopes for the drug, but didn't mention that the article interviewed medical specialists who warn about negative side effects and say that it probably won't be a “miracle drug.”
Oz said that the use of the word “anecdote,” in describing favorable studies of the drug, is incorrect. Wonder who used that word – oh, right, it was Dr. Anthony Fauci who, when asked about the efficacy of the drug, said that the evidence was anecdotal. NY Governor Andrew Cuomo also used the term to describe the drug trials.
Oz began the sales pitch: “There’s no question it’s not proven to be beneficial in the large clinical trials we expect in America and certainly the FDA and medical societies would desire; but these have been supported by case studies.” He said he “just got off the phone” with Didier Raoult, a “well respected French physician” who, according to Oz, has treated “thousands of patients.” (Uh, while some in the scientific community praise him, others are not so positive. Some refer to him as “Trumpian” and “pathologically resistant to criticism.” His studies have been described, at best, as "misinformation" and at worst, "crap.") Not coincidentally, this French "study" has also been promoted by Trump.
Oz did mention that the results of Raoult's treatment haven’t been published but we should expect them soon. After he asserted that Raoult’s results weren’t anecdotal, but rather, “randomized,” he continued to deride journalists who use the words “anecdotal.” He babbled about how doctors know the difference between randomized and anecdotal: “They say, I’ve got nothing else, I’m going into a battle, I’m going to marshal the army with me. I’ve got randomized data, large case studies that support, it’s the best I’ve got and I’ve got, I’m estimating this.” He added, "but Dr. Raoult, who was born in Africa, thinks that there’s been a billion prescriptions written for these products.”
Oz described Raoult as being “stunned” that “there’s so much concern about side effects.” (Oh, those silly side effects!) He did acknowledge that doctors have to screen for side effects but all the “panic” over side effects surprised Raoult.
Cohost Brian Kilmeade expressed annoyance that Dr. Fauci, on a recent Fox & Friends, said that a Chinese study on hydroxychloroquine, cited by Kilmeade, was “too small to matter.” He said that he couldn’t understand why Fauci "isn’t high on this drug ... but he’s the pro.”
Oz provided the requisite retort: “He’s a pro and I respect him a lot but a small study that shows a statistical significance is important, is a really important observation. If it takes me 30,000 patients to show a difference, is that better than showing a difference in 62 patients? If a small trial demonstrates statistically different differences you should respect it, at least pay attention to it."
It has been said that Dr. Oz has a credibility problem and that “healing was, in fact, not his only priority.” Physician and researcher Henry Miller said, regarding Oz, that “I wouldn’t trust any of his observations and don’t see how he would have responsible and valid views on coronavirus.”
Guess that’s not a problem for Fox News which pushes propaganda that is neither responsible nor valid!
You can watch Fox propagandize a pandemic below, from the April 7, 2020 Fox & Friends.