Google will ban ads for unproven or experimental medical techniques

Posted 09 September 2019

Google is revising its healthcare and medicines policy to ban advertising for unproven or experimental medical techniques such as most stem cell therapy, cellular (non-stem) therapy, and gene therapy. The policy will prohibit ads selling treatments that: (a) have no established biomedical or scientific basis, or (b) are rooted in basic scientific findings and preliminary clinical experience, but currently have insufficient formal clinical testing to justify widespread clinical use.
Reference: A new policy on advertising for speculative and experimental medical treatments. Google, Sept 6, 2019

The ban reportedly will take effect in October.
Reference: Wan W. McGinley L. New Google policy bars ads for unproven stem cell therapies. Washington Post, Sept 6, 2019

MIT Technology Review has criticized Google for years of brazenly profiting from health-care scams, noting:

Ads from stem-cell clinics have been a fixture of Google’s search results for years, funneling desperate patients to a growing industry of doctors who collect blood or other cells from patients, then re-inject them. Testimonials from celebrity NFL players and others have helped spread the quackery to sports medicine and orthopedics centers.
Reference: Google is banning ads for quack cures after years of profiting from them. MIT Technology Review, Sept 6, 2019

Source: Consumer Health Digest #19-36, September 8, 2019

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