False posts tout unregistered milk product as 'golden cure for stomach diseases'

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Videos advertising a purported cure for various stomach problems and diseases have been viewed millions of times in Philippine social media posts that falsely claim the product has been approved by the country's Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A representative for the FDA told AFP that "Hera Nano Curcumin Milk" was not a registered product, and it should not be consumed. Medical specialists separately told AFP the milk product does not cure stomach diseases.

A video touting "Hera Nano Curcumin Milk" has been viewed over 1.2 million times since it was posted here on Facebook on September 21, 2022.

The video's lengthy Tagalog-language caption claims the product is a "golden solution for stomach patients" and supposedly cures various stomach illnesses, including ulcers, acid reflux and bleeding.

"FDA approved, 100% natural ingredients, safe for users," it says.

The video begins with a voiceover warning about leaving stomach diseases untreated.

"The more you wait, the bigger the possibility of developing stomach cancer," a voice is heard saying before the video cuts to clips of two people advertising the product, including a supposed gastroenterology specialist.

Screenshot of the false post, captured on December 4, 2022

Similar videos touting "Hera Nano Curcumin Milk" shared on Facebook here and here have been viewed more than 950,000 times.

Comments suggest users believed the claims and wanted to purchase the product.

"Good morning, ma'am and sir. How much?" one user inquired.

"Ma'am can I take this?" asked another user. "My chest hurts all the time, as well as my back and my stomach."

But "Hera Nano Curcumin Milk" is not a registered food product, a representative for the FDA told AFP on November 22.

Unregistered product

The FDA representative said it advises the public "not to consume unregistered food products as these have not gone through testing and evaluation".

"FDA cannot guarantee its safety and quality," they added.

A representative for the Philippine Society of Gastroenterology separately told AFP on October 20, "The product is not part of known treatments for [stomach] diseases".

Dr Virgil Lo, a gastroenterologist from the Chinese General Hospital, said on November 2: "A food supplement that claims 'All natural' cure or treatment is misleading and does not cure stomach problems."

He added that curcumin -- a compound found in turmeric that the product claims to contain -- has not been proven effective for stomach diseases.

"For stomach problems, it is best to consult with a gastroenterologist in order to best determine the necessary steps for the diagnosis and management of your condition," he said.

AFP has previously debunked posts touting unlicensed products here, here and here.