When Dr. Mehmet Oz testified before a Senate subcommittee on June 17, 2014, he was challenged by Senator Claire McCatskill on a study he had conducted on green coffee bean extract, “ Green Coffee Bean Extract “The Fat Burner That Works!” which aired on September 12, 2012.
Senator McCatskill questioned the quality of the science in this show saying it would “not pass scientific muster”. Dr. Oz replied that it would not meet what the Food and Drug Administration required to approve a drug. (No foolin!). Dr. Oz continued that he would not publish the study because it was not conducted under the appropriate IRB (Institutional Review Board) guidance. He explained that is was not under IRB guidance because “ the purpose was for me to get a thumbnail sketch: was this something worth talking about.” See clip at 2:50 minutes.
Dr. Oz Testifying Before US Senate
The show described in detail the hypothesis Dr. Oz was testing; the protocol was described by two members of his Medical Advisory Board; the use of placebo was described vis a vis the intervention group. The necessity of using a food journal was described as well as the inclusion and exclusion selection criteria. The terms “experiment,” “study,” “clinical trial” “placebo,” “intervention group,” “duration,” “food log (or journal),”study design,” “who (green coffee bean extract) is good for and who it is not right for,” “outcome, and “results” were used 36 times. The recommendation from this study presented by Dr. Oz was that the extract probably should not be used by pregnant women and children under 18. For all others, they could expect to lose twice as much weight as using a food journal alone, about a pound a week. Some thumbnail sketch!
It is interesting too that Dr. Oz said the study was not done “under appropriate IRB guidance.” The IRB process is intended to protect human subjects of medical treatments. The Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons where Dr. Oz is on the faculty has comprehensive IRB procedures, as required by New York State Law and Federal Law. It would appear that any research conducted on human subjects by a faculty member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons must be submitted for approval by the IRB. Under limited circumstances a study can receive an exemption from the IRB requirements but the exemption is given by the IRB. Assuming that Dr. Oz received an exemption from the IRB, I’ve asked the director of the IRB program for an explanation of what the reasons for exemption were. They responded and said they are looking into it. Stay tuned.