Fact checks on health products and scams

FACT CHECK: Doc Willie Ong ad for niacinamide toothpaste is fake

Rappler.com

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FACT CHECK: Doc Willie Ong ad for niacinamide toothpaste is fake
The toothpaste is not on the Philippine Food and Drug Administration’s list of approved products

Claim: Cardiologist and online health personality Dr. Willie Ong, also known as Doc Willie, endorses Aqua Cool, a toothpaste that contains niacinamide and claims to treat yellowish teeth, bad breath, gingivitis, bleeding gums, and sensitive teeth.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The Facebook video bearing the claim has over 1.1 million views, 6,200 reactions, 3,100 comments, and 217 shares as of writing.

The video uses a clip of Ong spliced with visuals of the toothpaste to create the fake endorsement.

It was posted by a Facebook page posing as the account of Ong and his wife, Liza Ong.

The facts: Ong does not endorse the product. The clip of Ong used in the niacinamide toothpaste ad was originally from a video posted on January 13, 2023 on his official Facebook account.

The original video is unrelated to dental issues. Instead, Ong talks there about the potential risks of wearing tight underwear.

Ong’s name and videos have been misused in numerous advertisements promoting various health products without his endorsement or authorization. In response, Ong released a video in April 2023 debunking the fake ads. He had also told Rappler in a past email that he and his wife do not endorse any products besides Birch Tree Advance, a nutritional milk formulated for seniors.

Not FDA registered: The Aqua Cool toothpaste is not on the Philippine Food and Drug Administration’s list of approved drug products.

Under Republic Act No. 9711 or the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009, the sale and distribution of unauthorized health products is strictly prohibited. The FDA recommends verifying a product’s registration status using the FDA Verification Portal before making any purchase. 

Previous false claims: Rappler has debunked a similar ad for the Aqua Cool toothpaste as well as other products using Ong in false endorsements: 

– Marie Flor Cabarrubias/Rappler.com

Marie Flor Cabarrubias is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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