Retailers call it "the Oz Effect" -- the phenomenon of people walking into health-food stores, armed with laundry lists of supplements they've seen on "The Dr. Oz Show." But there are no name brands attached to those supplements, since he has made it a point to not recommend any specific brands.
We talked with Dr. Mehmet Oz recently about the proliferation of unauthorized "Oz-approved" store displays, websites and spam e-mails and what he is doing to combat it.
"I don’t hock stuff," Oz said in a phone interview. "If you see my picture next to a product being sold on the Web, not only are they stealing from me because they’re using my name and likeness without permission, but they’re also going to steal from you because if they’ll steal my name, they’ll steal your money."
At the start of the 2013 season, Oz implored his viewers to report shady tactics to him on the DoctorOz.com website. On the site is an "Oz Watch" page that says "if you see something, send something." There, viewers can sites and stores using Oz's image, name or the logo or video from his show. It also lists his and his show's official social media pages.
"We’ve had an incredible amount of feedback from the audience," he said. "We’ve had over 2,000 people write in with specifics about how they’ve found people doing fraud with my name."
But Oz admits it's a huge problem, not only for him, but for Oprah Winfrey as well.
"Oprah and I have been fighting this. We’ve spent more than $1 million litigating it," he continued. But he does have some help from the major players on the Internet.
"The Amazons, the Facebooks of the world are doing their best to help police this for us to make it a little smarter. Otherwise, every time I go on any kind of a site these days I see my own picture," he said.