Medical talk shows on Iranian satellite TV
By Pesare Gol
June 29, 2004
As I am flipping the Iranian satellite TV channels, I am bombarded
by different medical programs. Almost all the TV and
radio programs now dedicate hours a week to the medical "experts"
who are there to help Iranians who call for medical
advice. The problem is that this is probably illegal
in the United States. Physicians are not allowed to
give medical advice on any public media.
The story goes like this. An unfortunate Iranian who is or has
a relative with a serious medical condition usually cancer, heart
disease, MS, etc. After a few questions, a medical professional
says that in his or her clinic they give a special vitamin made
the most natural herbs that
or at least improve the specific medical condition.
At times I am in awe of the ignorance of Iranians regarding medical
issues. How can anyone who has a serious medical condition call
someone they barely know half way around the world and ask for
What is amazing is that most of these people call from Iran,
USA, Canada or Europe. In all these countries one can find the
best medical specialists that people in need can refer to. Interpreters
are provided in most countries to help those who have a language
barrier. Yet instead of being seen by a medical
professional who would take up to hours to take a proper medical
history, medical exam, order appropriate tests before coming up
with a medical diagnosis, Iranians tend to prefer getting a quick
fix answer on the phone.
The medical advice phenomenon on TV probably started with
a plastic surgeon called Dr. Mazaheri. This is a slick,
well groomed plastic surgeon who is practically full of himself.
He uses charming Iranian language to make his answers very believable.
I can't comment on his answers on plastic surgery. But
his advice on areas of medicine that are not his specialty like
neurology, cardiology, respirology... are scary. I would not want
to take my dog to him.
The second interesting character is Dr.
An assertive medical doctor who has a show on pretty much every
channel. Although her explanations of different medical
conditions in layman's terms is good, it is clear that her
intentions are to sell her own multivitamins and herbal products.
have repeatedly tried to call her and ask her if she knows of
good clinical, scientific studies published in reputable journals
have shown any of her products are actually beneficial for different
medical conditions. I was hung up on the two instances
that I called. I still challenge Dr. Akbarpour to show me
scientific proof that her products are beneficial
and I will the first person to use them.
It is unfortunate that some Iranian physicians are exploiting
the trust of Iranians by marketing their products as the "cure
all" for all medical conditions.I urge all Iranians who have
a medical question to spend time and look for a good medical
in the city they live in and take the time to explain their
condition in person with that physician.