Dr. Gilbert Ross is the Medical/Executive Director for the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), who lost his medical license for nearly ten years and served a federal prison sentence after being convicted of involvement in a Medicaid fraud scheme in 1993 (see below). Ross is currently also serving as Acting President of ACSH, which is an industry-funded organization that fights environmental and consumer protection regulations.
Felony Conviction, Medical License Revoked Over Medicaid Fraud Scheme
Ross was involved in what Mother Jones has called a "brazenly larcenous" Medicaid scheme in the 1990s. Clinics in New York City offered poor patients "prescriptions for expensive drugs that they could resell on the street for cash"; in return, the patients would "provide their Medicaid recipient numbers, give blood samples, and undergo medically unnecessary examinations, procedures, and tests" for which the clinics then charged New York's state Medicaid program. A percentage of the profit went to Mohammed Sohail Khan, who operated the clinics, and another share profited the doctors, including Ross. The scheme reportedly defrauded the state of some $8 million.
Ross was sentenced to 46 months in a federal prison and to pay restitution of $612,855 (later reduced due to lack of assets). His license to practice medicine was revoked and he was barred by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from participating in Medicare and Medicaid for ten years.
Ross attempted to appeal that ruling in 1997, but a judge upheld it, finding Ross to be "a highly untrustworthy individual" who had been involved in "an elaborate conspiracy to defraud the New York Medicaid system"
In 2000, a state review panel rejected Ross's application to have his medical license reinstated, and Ross did not regain his license until 2004.
American Council on Science and Health
After his release from prison, Ross began working for the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), an organization that attacks public concerns about various corporate products and practices, such as genetically modified foods (GMOs), pesticides, herbicides, and more, and receives funding from many of the companies whose products and practices it defends. "When American corporations come up against inconvenient science [...] they call in the American Council on Science and Health," Mother Jones has written. See more in the article on American Council on Science and Health.
In his work for ACSH, Ross has "defended the Wood Preservative Science Council, saying ... the arsenic in pressure-treated wood poses 'no risk to human health,'" and has written "on behalf of the farmed-salmon industry that the PCBs in fish 'are not a cause of any health risk, including cancer,'" according to Mother Jones.
Attack on Dr. Mehmet Oz Over Conflicts of Interest
In April 2015, a group of doctors published a letter calling on Columbia University to remove Dr. Mehmet Oz from the faculty of its College of Physicians and Surgeons, accusing Oz of "disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine," "baseless and relentless opposition to the genetic engineering of food crops," and "an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain."
Signers on the letter include Ross as well former ASCH board member Henry I. Miller, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution (a right-wing think tank physically located on the campus of Stanford University) who was the leading spokesperson in election ads opposing GMO labeling in California (an ad campaign funded through millions of dollars from corporations that manufacture or use GMO products) and who helped found a tobacco industry front group, The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition.
Dr. Oz has denounced this as a smear campaign.
Dr. Oz has his own TV show on NBC, "The Dr. Oz Show," after becoming a prominent media figure through a series of appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Through that platform, he has repeatedly maintained that the public has a right to know what is in their food and has supported the idea of labeling GMO foods. Other countries have stronger rules than the United States does on GMO products, and many people have raised concerns about some of the GMO products that have been created, particularly products created by Monsanto, an extremely controversial manufacturer.
Dr. Oz was accused of using his show to promote dubious health products in 2014, including facing criticism from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) during a 2014 U.S. Senate hearing examining diet-product ads. McCaskill has received numerous campaign donations from Monsanto employees; Monsanto is located in St. Louis.
Ross said in TV comments criticizing Oz, "I don't how much of this he actually has a financial interest in, but I would suspect it's quite a bit."
That interview with ACSH made no mention of its funding from corporate sources that profit from the products and industries ACSH defends, however, such as GMO crops, fracking, and e-cigarettes (see American Council on Science and Health for more information).
American Council on Science and Health
New York, NY 10023-5882
Phone: (212) 362-7044
Fax: (212) 362-4919
E-mail: acsh at acsh.org
Articles and Resources
Related SourceWatch Resources
- "Gilbert Ross, M.D. Medical/Executive Director", accessed October 2005.
- Bill Hogan "Paging Dr. Ross: A doctor who defends corporations from "inconvenient" science has a secret of his own, Mother Jones, November/December 2005.
- Elizabeth Whelan, "Personal Reflections on a "Mother Jones" Article About a Friend and Colleague", ACSH In the News, October 20, 2005.
- Bill Hogan, "Paging Dr. Ross," Mother Jones, November 2005.
- In the Matter of Gilbert Ross, M.D., Determination and Order, State of New York Department of Health State Board for Professional Medical Conduct, February 27, 1995.
- Department of Health and Human Services, "Cases of Gilbert Ross, M.D. and Deborah Williams, M.D., Petitioners, v. Inspector General, case decision, June 1997.
- American Council on Science and Health, "Staff," organizational website, accessed April 20, 2015.
- Henry I. Miller et al., "Letter to Lee Goldman, M.D., Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine, Columbia University," posted on Vox, April 17, 2015.
- Rebekah Wilce, "California GMO Labeling Supporters Confront $41 Million Opposition and 13-Point Poll Slide," PRWatch, October 25, 2012.
- Bill Briggs, "Physicians to Columbia: Dump Dr. Oz for Hawking 'Quack Treatments'," NBC News, April 17, 2015.
- Center for Responsive Politics, Claire McCaskill: Top 20 Contributors, 2009-2014, Open Secrets political influence database, accessed April 20, 2015.