VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Dr. Willie Ong DID NOT endorse a cure for skin diseases


An old fake video that showed cardiologist Dr. Willie Ong recommending a gel that can allegedly heal scars, stretch marks, keloids, pimples, and acne continues to deceive netizens. The product, so-called Scar Gel, is neither registered in the country nor sold by major drugstores. 

The gel is not being endorsed by the former vice presidential candidate. His wife, physician Liza Ramoso-Ong, called the post “fake news”. 

With 2.7 million views on Facebook as of Sept. 17, the post continues to dupe netizens, many of whom ask how much the bogus scar gel costs. The video was posted on May 15 by FB page Dok Kuya Joey – Doktor Ng Bayan (created on May 14, 2022), with this caption: 

Mabisang lunas para sa mga merong stretch marks, melasma, acne, pimples, keloids at iba pang sakit sa balat, inirekumenda ng isang sikat na doktor sa social media 

(An effective remedy for those who have stretch marks, melasma, acne, pimples, keloids and other skin diseases, a famous doctor on social media recommended it).” 

Hindi namin page iyan…(That’s not our page),” said Ramoso-Ong.

“Iyang mga iyan, kukunin ang face ko, face ni Doc Willie … pati ibang mga cardiologist kinukuha nila. Pero ang daming naloloko kasi yung photoshop nila, mukhang hawak pa ng [doktor] yung product kaya nakakalusot talaga,” she told VERA Files Fact Check over the phone. 

(Those [fake drug advertisements] use my face, that of Doc Willie … and even those of other cardiologists. A lot of people are fooled because their [photo editing] makes it look like the doctor is holding the product, so it really passes off [as true].)

Ramoso-Ong said that legitimate medicines are only sold in pharmacies and drug stores, and those carried by e-commerce stores could be fake, adding that “magic medicines” do not exist. 

The featured skin product in the erroneous video is not on the list of products registered with the Philippine and American Food and Drug Administrations. Neither is it sold by major drug stores like Mercury Drug or Watsons.

The two-and-a-half-minute video used multiple clips to mislead people into thinking that Dr. Willie Ong endorsed the product, and that it is a legitimate drug made in South Korea. 

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, South Korea’s equivalent of the FDA, does not include Scar Gel in its official lists of approved products and drug verification portal.

The video used a portion of a vlog where Dr. Willie Ong was pointing to a cross-section diagram of the skin’s layers. The episode was originally about how to maintain a healthy-looking skin, first  uploaded on May 13, 2013.

Another video clip of a talking man in a gray scrub suit was falsely labeled as a dermatologist named Joe White, who allegedly helped develop the bogus scar gel in Korea for 10 years. The original version was uploaded on stock footage website Pexels on Sept. 16, 2020.

Two other video clips were also taken out of context to show a non-existent news report about the product and a fake customer testimonial: 

  • A March 18, 2018 episode of GMA’s Pinoy M.D. showing a woman who lost weight and got stretch marks; and 
  • A video clip showing GMA news anchor Mel Tiangco introducing a report about viewing scars as a symbol of beauty, uploaded on July 23, 2013.

The erroneous medicine advertisement got over 19,000 reactions, 8,700 comments, and 2.7 million views on Facebook.

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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.)