Claim: Three health experts – Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Dr. Eric Tayag, Dr. Tony Leachon, and Dr. Freddie Gomez said the following statement found in quote cards used to promote Glufarelin, a product claimed to cure diabetes:
“Makinig sa akin: ang mga tabletas at iniksyon ay hindi maaaring ganap na gamutin ang diabetes, ang aking mga kasamahan at ako ay nakahanap ng isang napaka-epektibong paraan.” (Listen to me: pills and injections cannot totally cure diabetes, my colleagues and I found a very effective way.)
The quote cards used also bear the name and logo of ABS-CBN and also mention that the three said the statement in a “Diabetes Insights Conference” held in February 2023.
Tayag is currently a DOH undersecretary, Leachon is an internist-cardiologist at the Manila Doctors Hospital and an independent health reform advocate, and Gomez is the resident health analyst and host of the show Med Talk Health Talk on CNN Philippines.
Why we fact-checked this: The quote cards were found on various websites and Facebook pages. A website that misrepresents and bears the name National Institutes of Health shows the version of the quote card with the name and picture of Tayag.
A Facebook page with the name “Manila Hospital News” has two posts on April 3 and March 28 showing the version of the quote card with the name and picture of Gomez, with a total of 1,116 reactions, 130 comments, and 177 shares as of writing. These Facebook posts also linked to external websites promoting Glufarelin.
The bottom line: The DOH and ABS-CBN denied that the three health experts Tayag, Leachon, and Gomez said the statements found in the quote cards. Leachon, in a March 25 post from his official Facebook page, showed a screenshot of a post from “Manila Hospital News” with the same quote card but with his name and picture, and said, “THIS IS FAKE!” That post from “Manila Hospital News” seems to be no longer available as of writing.
DOH’s response: The DOH, on its official Facebook page, issued a warning on April 3 regarding the use of the name and picture of Tayag in the quote card. It said that Tayag or anyone from DOH did not issue the statement in the quote card. The DOH also added tips on preventing diabetes and mentioned the correct links and social media handles that the department uses.
The screenshot of the sponsored post spreading the bogus quote card shown in the DOH advisory was from a Facebook page “Medical Center Philippines” which seemed to be no longer accessible as of writing.
ABS-CBN’s fact check: On the official ABS-CBN News Facebook page, a post about the quote cards on April 3 said that the “graphics are manipulated” and that the quote cards did not come from the three health experts mentioned. They also pointed out that the DOH had issued another advisory on the issue.
Status of Glufarelin with the FDA: As of writing, Glufarelin is not in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists of registered food products and drug products.
FDA had warned the public on July 11, 2022 in its FDA Advisory No.2022-1260 against the purchase and consumption of Glufarelin as it was unregistered.
Previous related fact-checks: A Rappler fact-check article on March 27 also debunked quote cards promoting Glufarelin with statements attributed to Dr. Tony Leachon. The official and correct website of the National Institutes of Health can be found here: https://nih.upm.edu.ph/.
Rappler has also previously debunked health claims about Glufarelin on July 13, 2022. (READ: FALSE: Glufarelin milk treats diabetes by completely controlling blood sugar levels)
– 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.
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