Google bans ads for ‘unproven’ stem call treatment

 

In a blog post earlier this month, Adrienne Biddings, Google Policy Adviser said that their new Healthcare and Medicines policy will prohibit ads selling treatments that have no established biomedical or scientific basis.  It includes treatments that are rooted in basic scientific findings and preliminary clinical experience, but currently have insufficient formal clinical testing to justify widespread clinical use.

“We know that important medical discoveries often start as unproven ideas - and we believe that monitored, regulated clinical trials are the most reliable way to test and prove important medical advances,” she states. “At the same time, we have seen a rise in bad actors attempting to take advantage of individuals by offering untested, deceptive treatments. Often times, these treatments can lead to dangerous health outcomes and we feel they have no place on our platforms”.

Google worked with The International Society for Stem Cell Research to develop the new policy. 

President Deepak Srivastava says, “Google’s new policy banning advertising for speculative medicines is a much-needed and welcome step to curb the marketing of unscrupulous medical products such as unproven stem cell therapies. While stem cells have great potential to help us understand and treat a wide range of diseases, most stem cell interventions remain experimental and should only be offered to patients through well-regulated clinical trials. The premature marketing and commercialization of unproven stem cell products threatens public health, their confidence in biomedical research, and undermines the development of legitimate new therapies.”

Advertising for participants to take part in properly regulated clinical trials will still be permitted, as will advertising aimed at communicating scientific findings to the public. 

The move follows efforts by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to stop to stop stem cell clinics in the USA from marketing unapproved products that put patients at risk.

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