Senate probe of fake online ads of unregistered food, drugs pushed

(INQUIRER) MANILA, Philippines — Senator Jinggoy Estrada is alarmed by the proliferation of fraudulent online celebrity advertisements for unregistered food, drug, and health products.

This concern prompted him to seek a probe into the issue.

Estrada filed Senate Resolution 666 on Monday, June 26, urging the appropriate panel to look into the deceptive use of the faces and names of popular personalities to market illegal products.

“There is a need to identify and plug possible loopholes in our prevailing laws and regulations, and update their provisions, considering the extensive employment of social media platforms and cyberspace, as well as the alarming use of maliciously manipulated images, spliced videos, and fabricated statements, in the promotion of food and health products,” the resolution read.

Estrada cited reports on the use of names and faces of famous celebrities like Sharon Cuneta, Kris Aquino, and doctors Willie Ong and Tony Leachon, for fraudulent advertisements.

He specifically flagged Grandsure Gold, Glufarelin, and Golden Gout Colostrum – which are not registered with Food and Drug Administration.

The companies behind these commodities reportedly shared bogus marketing materials online.

“Social media accounts of the abovementioned unregistered products are viewed and even shared by thousands of consumers, providing them with inaccurate and false information about the efficacy, quality, and safety of the food, drugs, and health products,” the lawmaker said.

He underscored the need to urgently probe the promotion and consumption of unsafe dietary products, which may “pose a threat to public health.”

Under the Consumer Act of the Philippines, “It shall be unlawful for any person to disseminate or to cause the dissemination of any false, deceptive or misleading advertisement by Philippine mail or in commerce by print, radio, television, outdoor advertisement or other medium for the purpose of inducing or which is likely to induce directly or indirectly the purchase of consumer products or services.”