John Oliver devoted more than half of his show last night to dietary and nutritional supplements, their regulation (or lack thereof), and Dr. Oz’s role in them. Oz hawks them on his show, noting their “magical” or “miraculous” results, which results in skyrocketing sales. The only problem is, as he testified on front of Congress last week, these supplements don’t really work. In fact, they can be harmful. However, the FDA’s power to regulate is limited, in part because of the lobbying from the pro-vitamin advertising, and even consumers, who raised hell with Congress when the FDA attempted to strengthen their control over the vitamin industry.
As only Oliver can do, he provides a lengthy, scathing account of the supplement industry’s unscrupulous practices, which has allowed it to grow from a $4 billion industry in 1994 to a $32 billion industry today, despite dangerous side effects and despite the fact that the pills often don’t provide the actual ingredients labeled on the bottle. It seems that Senators Orrin Hatch and Tom Harkin have, for two decades, been the leading the charge against more regulation supplementary industry, the two senators who, not so coincidentally, receive the most campaign contributions from that industry.
At the end of the segment, Oliver — who takes Dr. Oz to task for pandering — uses cameos from George R.R. Martin, Steve Buscemi, and puppies to demonstrate how to pander without actually hurting anyone.
Oliver (v.) — To take an otherwise boring issue, blow it up in an entertaining and educational manner, point the finger and the root cause, and obliterate the flimsy defense, e.g., He totally Oliver’d the FCC for its sketchy role in Net Neutrality.