Republican Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz owns shares of two companies he publicly supported, touting their drugs as potential Covid-19 treatments — even though the drugs weren't approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
What Happened: Dr. Oz, who rose to fame as the host of the “Dr. Oz Show” from 2009 to 2022, owns shares of Thermo Fisher Scientific TMO and McKesson MCK — two companies that are linked to the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine.
Oz, and many other public figures including former President Donald Trump, have publicly stated the drug as a possible Covid-19 treatment. While the FDA has approved hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for malaria, it has not approved the drug as safe and effective against Covid-19.
Thermo Fisher supplies the drug and McKesson is a distributor.
Oz and his wife own $615,000 in shares of Thermo Fisher, according to new filings. Oz and his wife also own a stake in McKesson valued between $15,001 and $50,000 according to a new filing.
Oz also urged the White House to back studies on the drug, according to emails from a House select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis. He also used public appearances on Fox News to publicly support hydroxychloroquine as a promising Covid-19 treatment.
According to The New York Times, Oz promoted chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in over 25 appearances on Fox between March and April of 2020.
It remains unclear as to when Oz and his wife purchased the stocks and if they owned shares of the companies prior to his public support for the drug. A spokesperson for Oz’s campaign did not answer questions from CNBC on the timing of the purchase.
“At the outset of the pandemic, Dr. Mehmet Oz spoke with health experts worldwide who were seeing hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as viable treatment options for desperately ill COVID patients,” the spokesperson told CNBC.
Earlier this year, Oz said he didn't know if "it works or not," adding:
"We still to this day had not been able to prove if it (hydroxychloroquine) works or not, which is a shame,” Oz said. “I mentioned it and then President Trump mentioned it in a press conference, and all of a sudden the entire world hated hydroxychloroquine without testing it, without knowing about it.”
Why It’s Important: Oz, who has received campaign support from Trump throughout 2022, is running for office in Pennsylvania. If elected, Oz would be one of many members of Congress who own shares of public companies.
The election of Oz to the Senate could create conflicts of interest if he voices support for companies with certain drugs and treatment options that could potentially line his pockets.
There has been increasing public support to ban stock trading for members of Congress and their spouses.
Ethics rules for members of Congress prevent elected officials from using their position to promote goods or services that they stand to financially benefit from.
The news dropping of Oz’s stake in companies that could have benefitted from his public support could also be used as a negative in his Senate campaign.
"The Dr. Oz Show" was distributed by Sony Group Corp SONY.
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