How they impersonate medical specialists to advertise a false remedy for bunions Maldita.es
reverse google search
Official sources (communications, databases, BOE)
“Read it before they delete it.” This is the accompanying message to a Facebook video in which an alleged miraculous remedy for bunions. The publication, which accumulates nearly 150,000 reproductions, ensures that it is the “only product that penetrates the joints and restores cartilage 100%.” However, the interviews used to promote this supposed remedy are false and impersonate the identity of medical specialists, a technique that we have already told you about in Maldita.es.
Besides, the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) has warned of “miracle products”, like the one promoted in the fake interviews we talked about, which supposedly relieve joint pain. For their part, the experts consulted by Maldita.es they assure that There is no cream, ointment or spray that will fix bunions..
They impersonate medical specialists to promote a supposed miracle remedy with false interviews
At the end of the video in which the supposed miraculous cream is announced, a button appears that says “buy now”. If we click on it, we are redirected to a supposed interview with the supposed paramedic who discovered this miraculous remedy with which he would have “freed her friend from the wheelchair.”
The alleged interview is headed with an alleged photograph of the paramedic in question, whom they identify as Alejandro Casas. However, through a reverse search of said image we discover that the person who appears in it is, in fact, fran suarez, a nurse and influencers Spanish who has been described as “the sexiest nurse in the world” (here either here).
The name of the supposed miraculous spray is “Hondrox” and, as we have already told you in Maldita.es, It is not the first time that this product has been promoted as a solution for joint problems and pains of different kinds impersonating the identity of a specialist. This same technique has also been used, for example, to advertise the “natural methods to lose weight” of some famous ones like Sara Carbonero, Pilar Rubio or Rosalía.
Another aspect that should make us suspicious of this content is that the product purchase links that appear throughout the content do not redirect to any other page. Neither do the different tabs that appear in the ‘Health Blog’ header, the website where the alleged interview is published.
The only element with which we can interact is a supposed “lottery” that appears at the bottom of the page and with which we could win “a discount of up to 50% for the purchase of Hondrox”. To do this, we must choose between three colored doors that hide different rewards. Regardless of which door we choose, we will always get the maximum discount. However, in order to apply we must give our name and phone number and wait for a “confirmation” call.
If after participating in the aforementioned “lottery” we refresh the page, instead of returning to the same publication, they redirect us to another supposed interview which would have been published in The Spanish with the following headline: “Back, neck and joint problems are a direct path to disability!” Opinion of a traumatologist, professor of the Royal Ministry of National Medicine”. Nevertheless, the URL of the page (brillilfgs.website) It is not related to that of the media (elespanol.com) and we have not found the supposed interview on the website of The Spanish. We do find references to this product in an article in which they denounced “the scam of the ‘magic’ spray that cures joint diseases”.
In this case, also through reverse search, we know that the person that appears in the image is Alekyan Bagrat, cardiologist director of Innovative Technologies at the AV Vishnevsky Institute of Surgery of Russia.
In addition, the headline of this supposed interview is identical to that of other content that we have already denied in Maldita.es and that impersonated the identity of a member of the Royal European Academy of Doctors to promote the same product.
At the end of this second content, the “lottery” also appears to obtain discounts on the purchase of the supposed remedy. When we complete the process and refresh the page again, we are redirected back to the first of the contents to which we have referred.
The OCU recommends distrusting products that claim to “have many therapeutic properties”
The Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) warned in April 2022 that “miracle products” such as ‘Hondrox’ and ‘Flexumgel’ were being promoted as supposed to relieve joint pain, and offered some tips to identify them.
Among the recommendations of the OCU are: consult data such as the name, the number of the commercial registry or the registered office of the company, information that must appear on its website according to Spanish legislation; Be wary of products that claim to “possess many therapeutic properties” and alleged testimonials from users and experts, and pay special attention to “suspicious prices and offers”.
In addition, Facua-Consumers in Action too denounced and to the sale of similar products for “misleading advertising”, by supplanting the identity of other specialists such as the director of the National Center for Cardiac Research (CNIC), Valentín Fuster, whose image has been used without your consent to illustrate fake interviews.
Neither bunions nor similar injuries can be reversed by creams or sprays
The hallux valgus to which both publications refer, colloquially known as bunionis a deformation of the foot in which, generally, “the toe deviates towards the midline of the foot with some rotation on its axis”, as explained to Maldita.es Alberto Aldana, chiropodist and research expert in Biomedicine. This is the origin of the protrusion (the ‘exit’) that characterizes this deformity.
Fake interviews promote Hondrox as a “natural recipe-based” product, which is the supposed ultimate solution to bunions (hallux valgus) and its opposite, hallux varus. Regarding this, it is not only stated that he has been able to “free a woman from a wheelchair”, but also to remedy “more harmful diseases caused by flat foot valgus”, such as osteochondrosis, arthritis, bursitis or joint pain.
However, according to experts consulted by Maldita.esremove or correct a bunion or hyperpronation (a condition in which the ankle bone slips from its stable position on the heel bone) via topical pharmacological products (such as spray or creams) “it is literally impossible”. “A spray, ointment or cream could never restore the original or neutral position that the joint should have”, indicates Aldana. That is to say, it is not true that Hondrox “penetrates the joints and restores the cartilage 100%”, as the text of the Facebook post states.
Bunions can be the consequence of multiple factors, among which biomechanics is especially important, “the way in which the body moves, especially the foot,” adds the expert. This is why a spray, ointment or cream could never do the trick: “In any case, and I am not specifically talking about the aforementioned product, a topical pharmacological product could alleviate symptoms associated with hallux valgus, such as pain from rubbing against shoes or from biomechanical alterations.”
In fact, in these cases, more than correcting the deformity, “the functionality of this foot is sought, the absence of symptoms, as well as avoiding a worse evolution”, he affirms to Maldita.es Neus Moya, nurse and pediatric podiatrist. “Depending on the degree of deformity, it can be improved,” he points out and adds that, in terms of possible treatment options, the most common is the use of plantar supports, targeted exercises on the feet, change in shoe habits and , in more extreme cases, surgery. In no case would a pharmacological topical product such as creams and the like be sufficient.
“The images in which the ointment is shown and how the bunion disappears or hyperpronation is corrected seem to me to be a real deception. That is literally impossible”, says Moya. “What is taught in the video, together with the text in which she states that ‘the ointment restores cartilage 100%’, seems to me like a scam in which false hope is given to the solution of the bunion”.
Aldana recalls that it is enough to do a search in indexed databases to see that there is no scientific literature to support such claims. Nor is there any registered clinical trial that has evaluated the efficacy and safety of the aforementioned product in clinical trial databases such as clinicaltrials.gov.
“In general my opinion is forcefully skeptical. Asserting, furthermore, that natural products, because they are natural, lack potentially harmful effects is contributing to misinformation”, says the expert who adds that, from his point of view, “nothing that has large doses of scientific evidence behind it will be proclaimed as miraculous”, as well as, in general, in health science, “there are not usually good three for one”: “If a product is sold as capable of curing various conditions, the wise thing to do is to doubt”.