Fact checks on health products and scams

FACT CHECK: Doc Willie Ong ad promoting whitening toothpaste is fake


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FACT CHECK: Doc Willie Ong ad promoting whitening toothpaste is fake
Ong has repeatedly warned the public against misleading ads using his name, photos, and video clips.

Claim: Cardiologist and online health guru Dr. Willie Ong, popularly known as Doc Willie, endorses a “whitening medical toothpaste” named Aquacool.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim can be found on a June 11 post on the Facebook page named “Dr.” The post mentions Ong’s name and claims: “[Inirerekomenda] ni Ong Wilie ang Whitening Medical Toothpaste mula sa Japan dito.” 

(Ong Wilie [sic] recommends the whitening medical toothpaste from Japan here.)

The post shows photos of Ong and his wife, Dr. Liza Ramoso-Ong, and links to a website promoting Aquacool where more photos of the two are shown. 

As of writing, the Facebook video has about 1.7 million views, 13,000 reactions, 8,500 comments, and 536 shares.

Ong is an internist and cardiologist known for giving health advice on his YouTube channel Doc Willie Ong, which has about 8.66 million subscribers, and on his verified Facebook page Doc Willie Ong with about 17 million followers.

Ong’s response: Ong does not endorse the said “whitening medical toothpaste.” In a previous email response to Rappler regarding other supposed endorsements using his name, picture, and video clips, he said these were “fake ads made by scammers.” Ong added that this also applies to the post promoting Aquacool. 

Ong has repeatedly said that he does not endorse any product except for Birch Tree Advance, an adult nutritional supplement powder drink. He has previously warned the public against misleading ads through his YouTube and Facebook videos uploaded on April 18, April 19, and May 7, and in a “Notice to the Public” Facebook post on April 18.

Altered photo used in video: The video used in the Aquacool ad includes an altered photo of Ong. In the ad, Ong is supposedly holding a sign saying “Don’t buy niacinamide toothpaste at Shopee, Lazada.” The real photo was taken from a May 2022 post on Ong’s verified Facebook page, in which he can be seen holding a ballot secrecy folder.

Dubious information: The website promoting Aquacool linked in the Facebook post claims that Ong has “more than 15 years of experience in the field of oral and maxillofacial surgery.” This is dubious, as Ong is an internist and cardiologist.

Previous related fact-checks: Rappler has already made several fact-checks about misleading health advertisements

These include a fact-check published on July 21 of a Facebook post promoting supposed diabetes cure Glufarelin using Ong’s name, pictures, and video clips. – Percival Bueser/ Rappler.com 

Percival Bueser 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. You may also report dubious claims to #FactsFirstPH tipline by messaging Rappler on Facebook or Newsbreak via Twitter direct message. You may also report through our Viber fact check chatbot. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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