Fact checks on health products and scams

FACT CHECK: Fake ad for ‘hypertension cure’ uses photos of influencer Doc Alvin

Rappler.com

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FACT CHECK: Fake ad for ‘hypertension cure’ uses photos of influencer Doc Alvin
Medical content creator Dr. Alvin Francisco calls 'fake news' an article on healthnation-asia.com, which mimics the CNN Philippines website and uses his name and photo

Claim: Medical content creator Dr. Alvin Francisco, popularly known as Doc Alvin on social media, endorses Dianorm Blood Sugar Regulator, a product which claims to cure hypertension in two weeks.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim is based on an article supposedly published on the CNN Philippines website, where host Boy Abunda interviewed the radiology resident known for making health-related videos online. As of writing, Doc Alvin has 3.4 million followers on Facebook, 1.7 million on TikTok, 817,000 on YouTube, and 165,000 on Instagram.

The article read: “Alvin Francisco, the most famous scientist-doctor in Philippines, has found a way to get rid of blood pressure problems once and for all without poisonous pills! It can be done at home and in just 14 days!”

Aside from the article, Francisco’s name and pictures were featured in marketing materials endorsing health products which have recently circulated on different social media platforms.

The facts: The supposed article with Francisco’s endorsement is fake. Abunda has never interviewed Francisco on his YouTube program The Interviewer.

Fake website: The health article is not published on the official website of CNN Philippines.

A closer look at the article shows that it imitates the CNN Philippines website by displaying the CNN franchise logo, name of the author, and publication time and date, but it bears the URL healthnation-asia.com. 

In an October 3 post on his official and verified Facebook page, Francisco debunked a similar article from healthnation-asia.com bearing the same images, author names, and publication time as the fake Dianorm article. He wrote: “Babala: fake news ito” (Warning: This is fake news.)

Unregistered with FDA: On May 24, 2023, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued Advisory No. 2023-1058, warning healthcare professionals and the general public against purchasing and consuming the unregistered food supplement “DIANORM Blood Sugar regulator.”

“The FDA verified through online monitoring or post-marketing surveillance that the abovementioned food supplements is not registered and no corresponding Certificates of Product Registration (CPR) has been issued,” the advisory read.

To verify and check if a food or drug product is registered with the FDA, visit the FDA Verification Portal.

Previous fact-checks: Rappler has debunked health-related claims promoting the treatment and prevention of diseases, like diabetes, hypertension, and cancer, often using the names or photos of celebrities and doctors:

– Owenh Jake Toledo/Rappler.com

Owenh Jake Toledo 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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