Dr. Andrew Weil, of Weil Supplements, Weil Baby, Andrew Weil for Origins, fears doctors’ recommendations are motivated by greed


You’ve got to give the guy credit for chutzpah. The man who heads a multimillion dollar industry peddling countless products fears that the profit motive is corrupting medicine.

… many physicians in high-medical-cost cities … have a diversified “revenue stream,” the result of what one hospital administrator termed “entrepreneurial spirit.” This “spirit” often manifested in physicians owning their own medical testing equipment, which meant the more tests they ordered, the more money they made. A 2002 University of North Carolina study showed doctors who own imaging equipment sent patients for roughly two to eight times more imaging tests than those who don’t own.

That quote is from Andrew Weil, MD, writing in the Huffington Post, the same Andrew Weil who controls and profits from products licensed by Weil Lifestyle, LLC. Just contact Weil Lifestyle LLC, pay a hefty licensing fee plus royalties, and you can add Andrew Weil’s name to your products too.

Weil Lifestyle LLC licenses the right to use Dr. Weil’s name and likeness to companies philosophically aligned with his principles and committed to advancing integrative medicine. To qualify for licensing, the products themselves must also conform to the principles of integrative medicine. Current licensees are: Weil Nutritional Supplements (vitamins and supplements), Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins (skin-care products), Pet Promise (premium pet food), Dr. Andrew Weil for Tea (premium teas), Lucini Italia Organics(organic extra virgin olive oil and whole, peeled tomatoes), Weil by Nature’s Path (organic cereals and nutrition bars), Weil for Vital Choice, Weil Baby™ (baby feeding systems), Weil by Vita Foods, and Orthaheel™.

The guy who is hawking tea, pet food, extra virgin olive oil and orthotics has the unmitigated gall to complain that doctors might profit from their recommendations. What, exactly, is he doing when he slaps his name on a product in exchange for a fee? He’s profiting from his recommendation, obviously.

Does this man think that we are stupid? He counsels patients:

…[I]t’s up to you to ask your physician if the tests or treatments ordered for you are truly essential. You might get an honest answer about the test’s potential risks and benefits. Then, together, you can arrive at a decision that satisfies both of you.

Okay Dr. Weil, which of the products licensed and recommended by you are truly essential? It can’t be the premium tea; it isn’t the pet food; I doubt it’s the skin care products. Maybe it’s the newest product line Andrew Weil Gourmet Kitchen Products including bakeware, kitchen utensils, cutlery, gadgets and small appliances. If an Andrew Weil 10 cup Rice Cooker priced at $129.95 isn’t essential, I don’t know what is.

Dr. Weil proudly proclaims that he “donates all of his after-tax profits from royalties received by Weil Lifestyle, LLC from the sale of these products” to his foundation. How nice. He doesn’t tell us what he does with the profits from licensing fees, book advances, personal appearance fees, etc. I guess we can assume that he simply keeps those for himself.

Does greed play a role in healthcare? Unfortunately, in the case of unethical practitioners it does play a role. Should greed play a role? Of course not. So please tell us, Dr. Weil, why we should pay the least bit of attention to your faux outrage? None of the products that you hawk are essential and most do not even provide the health benefits that you claim for them. The only thing they do is line your own pocket.

You’re right, Dr. Weil. Patients shouldn’t trust doctors who recommend treatments that provide financial benefit for the doctor and little if any health benefit for the patient. In other words, Dr. Weil, by your own logic, patients shouldn’t trust you.