Fact Check: INAUTHENTIC Video Shows Ben Carson Promoting Government-Funded Erectile Dysfunction Pill

Fact Check

  • by: Madison Dapcevich
Fact Check: INAUTHENTIC Video Shows Ben Carson Promoting Government-Funded Erectile Dysfunction Pill Rep Says Fake

Did Dr. Ben Carson, retired neurosurgeon and former U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary, endorse a "government-funded" cure for erectile dysfunction, as a video on Facebook claimed? No, that's not true: A spokesperson for Carson said the claim is "completely fake." Additionally, a digital forensics website concluded that the audio portion of the clip was "100% likely to be AI Generated."

The claim originated in a video on Facebook on June 21, 2024 (archived here). Text in bold that accompanied the post claimed, "This product is government-funded." The caption continued:

I⁣'⁣v⁣e⁣ ⁣d⁣o⁣n⁣e⁣ ⁣t⁣h⁣i⁣s⁣ ⁣t⁣h⁣r⁣e⁣e⁣ ⁣t⁣i⁣m⁣e⁣s⁣ ⁣-⁣ ⁣a⁣n⁣d⁣ ⁣f⁣o⁣r⁣ ⁣f⁣i⁣v⁣e⁣ ⁣y⁣e⁣a⁣r⁣s⁣ ⁣n⁣o⁣w⁣,⁣ ⁣t⁣h⁣e⁣r⁣e⁣ ⁣h⁣a⁣v⁣e⁣ ⁣b⁣e⁣e⁣n⁣ ⁣n⁣o⁣ ⁣p⁣r⁣o⁣b⁣l⁣e⁣m⁣s⁣ ⁣w⁣i⁣t⁣h⁣ ⁣e⁣r⁣e⁣c⁣t⁣i⁣l⁣e⁣ ⁣d⁣y⁣s⁣f⁣u⁣n⁣c⁣t⁣i⁣o⁣n⁣.⁣ ⁣W⁣r⁣i⁣t⁣e⁣ ⁣d⁣o⁣w⁣n⁣ ⁣m⁣y⁣ ⁣p⁣r⁣e⁣s⁣c⁣r⁣i⁣p⁣t⁣i⁣o⁣n⁣

⁣b⁣y⁣ ⁣D⁣r⁣.⁣ ⁣B⁣e⁣n⁣ ⁣C⁣a⁣r⁣s⁣o⁣n⁣:⁣ ⁣a⁣n⁣ ⁣e⁣a⁣s⁣y⁣ ⁣w⁣a⁣y⁣ ⁣t⁣o⁣ ⁣r⁣e⁣g⁣a⁣i⁣n⁣ ⁣m⁣a⁣n⁣h⁣o⁣o⁣d⁣ ⁣i⁣n⁣ ⁣s⁣e⁣c⁣o⁣n⁣d⁣s⁣.⁣ ⁣⏱

At the beginning of the clip, a graphic reads, "Ask Dr Ben Carson: Erectile Dysfunction," and includes a seal that appears to be affiliated with "Neurosurgery Johns Hopkins."

This is how the post appeared at the time of writing:


(Source: Facebook screenshot taken Thu June 27 10:33:00 UTC 2024)

In the 2:05-minute clip, Carson appeared to say:

One non-chemical pill to enhance your potency. What kind of pill is it and which pharmacy should you buy it from? Let me tell you how you can maintain or fully restore your erection even at 70 or 80 years old.

Give me 30 seconds. If you find yourself failing in bed or if you don't see morning erections or they don't appear when you really need them, don't resort to Viagra ...

I offer you a new solution that has helped over 50,000 men. In collaboration with CVS, we have developed a unique natural solution that restores blood flow and erection in just seven days. It consists of natural aphrodisiac molecules that cleanse blood vessels and fully restore erection and prostate health ...

The video does not mention at any point the name of this "natural remedy." There was no further information, such as a link to the supposed program, to support the claims made.

Ben Carson

In a June 28, 2024, email to Lead Stories, Brad Bishop, a spokesman for Carson, provided the former secretary's response to the claim. Bishop said:

Dr. Carson has not endorsed or ever heard of this. That is completely fake.

Audio dubbed 100% likely to be AI-generated

The AI-generated content detection tool from Hive Moderation, a content-moderation platform, determined that the audio portion of the clip was 100 percent "likely to be AI Generated." Lead Stories used the tool's Chrome browser extension. The screenshot below shows the tool's analysis of the audio posted on Facebook:

Screenshot 2024-06-28 at 3.09.53 PM.png

(Source: Hive Moderation screenshot taken Fri June 28 22:09:52 UTC 2024)

Many cures for erectile dysfunction

The National Institutes of Health (archived here) gives the following definition of erectile dysfunction:

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition in which you are unable to get or keep an erection firm enough for satisfactory sexual intercourse.

The Cleveland Clinic (archived here) writes that ED is a "very treatable condition" and adds that:

Though there aren't cures for some causes of ED, many treatment options can help you get and maintain an erection hard enough for sexual intercourse.

Treatments include counseling, lifestyle changes and, in some cases, a prescription for sildenafil (archived here), which is also known by its brand name Viagra.

According to the National Library of Medicine's Medline database of pharmaceutical drugs (archived here):

Sildenafil treats erectile dysfunction by increasing blood flow to the penis during sexual stimulation. This increased blood flow can cause an erection. Sildenafil treats PAH by relaxing the blood vessels in the lungs to allow blood to flow easily.

More fact-based information about approved treatments for erectile dysfunction can be found on the website of the Urology Care Foundation (archived here), a nonprofit that is part of the American Urological Association.

Read more

Other Lead Stories fact checks of claims involving Dr. Ben Carson can be found here.

Additional Lead Stories fact checks of claims related to deepfakes can be read here.

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  Madison Dapcevich

Raised on an island in southeast Alaska, Madison grew up a perpetually curious tidepooler and has used that love of science and innovation in her now full-time role as a science reporter for the fact-checking publication Lead Stories.

Read more about or contact Madison Dapcevich

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