One of the guests of Dr. Oz’s daytime talk show is feeling the fallout from recent criticism of the celebrity doctor, agreeing to pay $9 million in damages to customers duped by his fraudulent claims that green coffee bean extract would help them lose weight.
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has accused Lindsey Duncan of falsely claiming that his weight loss products could cause customers to lose “17 pounds and 16 percent of their body fat in 12 weeks” all without diet or exercise.
“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. “This case shows that the Federal Trade Commission will continue to fight deceptive marketers’ attempts to prey on consumers trying to improve their health.”
From the FTC’s website:
[Shortly] after Duncan agreed to appear on Dr. Oz but before the show aired, he 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.
For example, while discussing green coffee bean extract during the taping of Dr. Oz, Duncan urged viewers to search for the product online using phrases his companies would use in search advertising to drive consumers to their websites selling the extract. He reached out to retailers, describing his upcoming appearance on The Dr. Oz Show and saying he planned to discuss the clinical trials that purportedly proved the supplement’s effectiveness. He and his companies also began an intensive effort to make the extract available in Walmart stores and on Amazon.com when the program aired.
DeadState wrote up a piece in December citing a study that revealed about half of the medical claims made on Dr. Oz’s show were not backed up by actual science.
Duncan was also charged last year by the Texas attorney general for falsely claiming to be a physician.