Sunday, May 26, 2024

Jinggoy calls for Senate probe on online endorsement scams

Calling it “fake” and “deceptive” Sen. Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada has called for a Senate inquiry into the alleged proliferation of online celebrity endorsements and social media postings of unregistered food and drug products.

Estrada has filed Senate Resolution No. 666, citing the risks that the scam poses to unsuspecting consumers and noting the spread of online marketing materials and impostor pages or accounts promoting unregistered products that promise treatment for various ailments or wellness benefits using the names and pictures of local personalities and celebrities.

“These advertisements mislead consumers into believing that these celebrities are using and endorsing food and medicinal products that are actually unregistered before the proper health authorities and not yet approved for mass distribution and public consumption,” he said.

The barrage of bogus medicinal remedies on social media platforms is viewed and even shared by thousands of consumers, providing them with inaccurate and false information about the efficacy, quality, and safety of food, drugs, and health products, Estrada said.

“The circulation and proliferation of fraudulent online advertisements are clear and blatant violations of the Consumer Act, which penalizes the dissemination of deceptive and misleading sales promotion practices,” he pointed out.

Estrada cited reports on the alleged product endorsements of Dr. Willie Ong, an internist and cardiologist with a huge social media following, regarding a “miracle food” in the form of mixed nuts.

He also mentioned the case of Dr. Tony Leachon, whose name and pictures were used to imply his personal endorsement of a product as a cure for diabetes.

“There is an urgent need to protect consumers against the consumption of unregistered and potentially harmful food and health products through the strict enforcement of the provisions of the Consumer Act and regulation of fraudulent advertisements on social media platforms,” Estrada said.

The lawmaker also noted the need to identify and address possible loopholes in the country’s existing laws and regulations, emphasizing the importance of updating their provisions, considering the extensive use 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.


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