Fact checks on health products and scams

FACT CHECK: Doc Willie Ong’s name, videos used in fake ads for Glufarelin


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FACT CHECK: Doc Willie Ong’s name, videos used in fake ads for Glufarelin
In an email to Rappler, Ong says these 'fake' ads that use his name, picture, and video clips to promote a supposed diabetes cure are 'made by scammers'

Claim: Cardiologist and online health guru Dr. Willie Ong, popularly known as Doc Willie, endorses Glufarelin, a product claimed to cure diabetes.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim can be found in several Facebook posts promoting Glufarelin that use the name, picture, and video clips of Ong.

One such post was made on July 4 in the Facebook page “Glufarelin – put an end to diabetes,” with about 2,600 reactions, 1,000 comments, and 227 shares as of writing. 

The post said Ong has an “effective therapy” for diabetes, and shares a portion of a video clip showing him tending to a patient and explaining some signs of diabetes.

Ong is known for sharing health tips on his YouTube channel Doc Willie Ong, which has about 8.65 million subscribers, and on his verified Facebook page Doc Willie Ong with about 17 million followers.

He ran for vice president in the 2022 elections and made a senatorial bid in the 2019 elections. 

Dr. Willie Ong’s response: Ong does not endorse Glufarelin. In an email to Rappler, Ong said of the numerous posts attributed to him: “All of these are fake ads made by scammers.” 

Ong has repeatedly said that he does not endorse any product except for Birch Tree Advance, an adult nutritional supplement powder drink. He has also made several posts warning the public against deceptive advertisements through videos uploaded on his YouTube channel and Facebook page on April 18, April 19, and May 7, as well as on a “Notice to the Public” Facebook post on April 18.

In his email, Ong also said that authorities and social media platforms should address the proliferation of advertisements using the names and pictures of famous personalities. 

“These fake ads have used all celebrities and influencers and [are] a worldwide problem. Facebook, [National Bureau of Investigation] should help the celebrities stop these scammers. We are victims here just like other influencers,” he added.

Unregistered: Glufarelin is not on the Food and Drug Administration’s list of registered food products and drug products.

Previous related fact-checks: Rappler has written fact-checks about the use of deceptive means to promote Glufarelin many times before:

As for Glufarelin itself, Rappler has previously debunked health claims about the product in a fact-check 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.

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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