Video promotes unlicenced pills in the Philippines as thyroid disease 'cure'

Medical experts in the Philippines have warned thyroid disorder patients against taking an unregistered pill advertised on social media as a quick cure for conditions such as tumours. The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it had not tested or approved the pills, while a leading Philippine doctor dismissed online claims that the drug can cure thyroid disorders in just two weeks.

The video promotes a pill called Thyroid Mana Nano Curcumin as a treatment for conditions such as thyroid tumours and goiters -- lumps in the neck caused by a swollen thyroid.

The six-minute clip claims the pills can cure the conditions in just two weeks and encourages social media users to click a link to buy the product for 1,790 pesos ($30) per box.

One Facebook post that shared the video on October 2, attracting more than 2,000 views, touts the drug as an approved treatment.

"This product has been tested and licensed by the Ministry of Health," it says in Tagalog.

"No operation. No side effects. 100% effective. The tumour will not return, however large it is."

Screenshot of false post taken on November 9, 2022

The thyroid is a gland at the front of the neck that produces hormones, with thyroid disorders ranging from under or over-active thyroids to tumours.

Some Facebook users who said they suffered from thyroid disorders appeared to express interest in using the pills.

"I have thyroid problems, mixed of hyper and hypo and I have lots of nodules on my thyroid, left and right. Will it be gone if I use this Thyroid Mana?" one commented.

Another asked: "How to order?"

Similar videos promoting the medication circulated here, here and here.

However, the claims in the video are false.

Unapproved medicine

The Philippine "Ministry of Health", which supposedly approved the pills, does not exist.

The official name of the Philippine government's health agency is the Department of Health.

The Food and Drug Administration, which operates under the Department of Health, has no record of Thyroid Mana Nano Curcumin in its database of registered products.

An FDA representative confirmed that the pills were unregistered.

"Please be informed that the product is not registered as per [Center for Food Regulation and Research] records," the spokesperson told AFP on November 4.

"You are advised not to consume unregistered food products as these have not gone through testing and evaluation, thus, FDA cannot guarantee its safety and quality."

A leading Philippine doctor dismissed the video's claims that the pills could treat thyroid disorders in just two weeks.

"There's no fixed time to treat different thyroid diseases," Dr. Marjorie Ramos, vice president of the Philippine College of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism told AFP.

She said it was "impossible" to cure goiters and tumours in two weeks.

Treatments for thyroid disorders range from medication to surgery and other therapy, although sometimes the condition does not cause problems and no treatment is needed.

"There is no one pill that can target every thyroid disease," Ramos said.

She said thyroid diseases were easily treatable with the correct medication and advised patients to see a doctor for advice.

Promotions for unregistered "cure-all" medications regularly circulate on social media. AFP has previously debunked social media posts promoting baseless treatments for liver disease and eye problems.