One of Dr. Oz's favored diet pills, the green coffee bean, is actually a hoax, and the company's peddlers are being forced by the government to pay out $9 million to consumers for making false claims about the product.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) just announced a settlement with Lindsay Duncan, who promoted the green coffee bean for weight loss on Dr. Oz's talk show, and the companies he had a stake in - Pure Health LLC and Genesis Today, Inc.
On the Dr. Oz show Duncan claimed that the weight loss pills would cause a person to lose 20 pounds and 16 percent body fat in 12 weeks without exercise. He mentioned that the pills were backed by science, but failed to note that he had a financial conflict in interest with the companies who made the pills, reported Vox.
"Shortly after Duncan agreed to appear on Dr. Oz but before the show aired, he [Duncan] began selling the extract and tailored a marketing campaign around his appearance on the show to capitalize on the 'Oz effect'" - a phenomenon in which discussion of a product on the program causes an increase in consumer demand," the FTC said.
The FTC won the settlement and now Duncan and his companies owe consumers $9 million.
"Lindsey Duncan and his companies made millions by falsely claiming that green coffee bean supplements cause significant and rapid weight loss," said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's bureau of consumer protection, in a press release.
Duncan left Genesis Today in 2014 and apparently the deceptive ads left with him. An unnamed spokeswomen told Reuters the deceptive advertisements had stopped before the settlement was reached with the FTC.
"We decided to settle with the FTC. ... It's a no-fault settlement. We don't admit any wrongdoing," the spokeswoman said.
"The Dr. Oz Show" praised the FTC on the "lengthy and thorough investigation of Lindsey Duncan and his efforts to defraud the public using our show. The Dr. Oz Show will retain its eternal vigilance in vetting guests so they meet highest standards."