VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Ad for Philippine Heart Center’s alleged vascular supplement is FAKE; Not BFAD-approved

A fake website article shared on Facebook (FB) claimed that a capsule called Vascolex, allegedly developed by the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) in 2015 can clean blood vessels, help with weight loss, and restore eyesight. 

“Absolutely not true,” Gerardo Manzo, PHC Deputy Executive Director for Medical Services,  told VERA Files Fact Check via email. 

In a separate statement, another PHC officer said: “The hospital strongly denies developing any such medication due to the fact that the hospital does not possess the capability to independently develop and produce drugs.” 

The erroneous article also claimed that cardiologist and vlogger Willie Ong endorsed the product supposedly developed by the PHC. In response, the PHC said that Ong is not affiliated with them. 

As of Dec. 6, Ong has only endorsed one product in his official Facebook page. His wife, general practitioner Liza Ramoso-Ong, has previously told VERA Files Fact Check that they do not endorse other products seen on websites or e-commerce sites. 

Vascolex is not an approved drug of the Food and Drug Administration. It is also not listed in the Monthly Index of Medical Specialities drug database. 

To look legitimate, the bogus website (registered on Aug. 17) made it look like Ong was holding a box of Vascolex. But the original screenshot, which came from a March 1, 2022 article by website, shows otherwise. 

An order request form can be seen at the end of the very long web article about cholesterol and the alleged benefits of Vascolex. It asked for netizens’ names and contact numbers.  

Facebook page Shop19 16807649 (created on Sept. 18) posted the link to the bogus site on Oct. 4. Netizens spammed this post with “Praise the Lord, amen” comments, while some expressed disbelief. 

The bogus FB post got a total of 42,000 reactions, 6,400 comments, and 5,700 shares.

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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)