TODAY

TODAY   |  May 06, 2013

Dr. Oz takes on companies illegally using his name

Daytime television host Dr. Mehmet Oz is issuing a warning to people purchasing weight-loss products with his name attached to them. He says he doesn’t endorse anything, yet marketers are making millions using his image.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back now, 7:44, with an important message from heart surgeon dr. mehmet oz , has to do with a multitude of ads and products who illegally use his name all the while putting your health at serious risk. they show up on web pages , on facebook, google, even in your inbox, ads and products that promise dramatic weight loss and flat bellies and all come with dr. oz's name attached. there's just one catch. dr. oz says he hasn't endorsed any of these products, in fact he says he doesn't endorse anything and he says these marketers are making millions of dollars off unsuspecting people who believe he's behind whatever they're selling. it's a problem he says endangers consumers' health, one so urgent today he's launching a massive campaign on his show called "it's not me" with a stern warning for viewers.

>> i consider anyone that uses my name or my picture to try to sell you a product or supplement reckless and dangerous.

>> and mehmet oz joins us this morning. good to see you. it's outrageous. you go online and look at the health-related products and i see your name and i see your face and i think this has got to be okay, dr. oz endorses it.

>> someone stole my prescription pad and writing prescription for things that on the show we talk about generalategories of products, i never endorse one specific brand, he talked about our brand he wants to you take this much and promises 200 pounds of weight loss and what's shocking to me, we've gotten over 10,000 complaints logged with our show this season alone, 55% of our viewers think these are real.

>> let's make sure we understand, somebody's sitting at home wait a minute dr. oz is mad because they're making millions he could make. this is not at all about money.

>> i don't sell any products, i don't make any money. this is the most alaing thing that people who run these syndicates are convicted sex offenders , securities and fraud, deep well-oiled machines that are defrauding the public and they're stealing your health. if they're willing to steal my name, think what they're doing to your health. someone i believe will die this year because of some of these fraudulent ads.

>> we are not mentioning any specific ads for a reason, but is there one category of ad in particular that worries you?

>> all the supplement ads concern me, there's more than half a billion dollars profit from these fraudulent ads, these are dangerous because consumers are not given the right caveats, i would normally offer, how long to take it, when to take it.

>> interaction with medications.

>> if they're lying about who is endorsing the product, they're almost certainly going to lie about what's in the product.

>> the simple fix is you hire a lawyer, the lawyer calls the company,ou threaten to sue them if they don't take your name and image off. you've tried that. why doesn't that work?

>> oprah and i spend more than $1 million, you get the itty bitty small. and the big mama fish hide from you. we changed from the paradigm, right to the camera and say this, i don't sell any products. if you see my name next to the product, that's not me. we have teamed up with major vendors out there, facebook, with google and we're working together. here is the metaphor, we own the big shopping mall . people are doing drugs in the parking lot. it's not our fault they're doing the bad things but we have to make the neighborhood safer or this is a problem. i've seen ads with you.

>> i know, i was in a segment with an expert who mentioned a product, next thing you know i was endorsing that product so i get the drift here.

>> unfortunately i've become the posterchild for this but for all of us in america take back the neighborhood and make it safe.