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August 29, 2014

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Politics:

Dean Heller to Dr. Oz: ‘Do you believe there’s a miracle pill out there?’

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Erik Kabik/Retna/www.erikkabikphoto.com

Dr. Mehmet Oz.

A Senate panel led by Nevada Sen. Dean Heller said the country is so deceived by weight loss products that they invited Dr. Mehmert Oz of “The Dr. Oz Show” to Washington, D.C., to talk about how to clamp down on false advertisements.

During today's hearing, Heller and other senators were critical of Dr. Oz’s self-described “flowery language” on his TV show brandishing the next miracle in weight loss. Heller noted that when Oz features a product on his show — even though he doesn’t officially endorse products — sales spike. And so does the potential for knock-off products.

“Do you believe there’s a miracle pill out there?” Heller asked Oz.

Oz replied that he didn’t.

“There’s not a pill that’s going to long term help you lose weight without diet and exercise,” he said, while defending many of the products he’s featured on his show.

Heller is co-leader of the Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee that held the hearing today.

Americans spend more than $40 billion a year on weight loss products, some of which they hope can get them thin quick.

“American consumers unrealistically yearn for a magic bullet, and unscrupulous marketers will take advantage of these desires,” said Dr. C. Lee Peeler, the vice president of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

There's so much bad information about weight loss products out there that the federal government needs to expand its programs to police false claims and educate consumers about dubious marketing practices, Peeler said.

There are some resources already. The Federal Trade Commission currently has a list of seven red flags consumers should watch out for when considering purchasing a weight loss product.

And TrustinAds.org, a nonprofit collaborating with Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo and AOL to crack down on false ads, has an entire report dedicated to false weight loss products.

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