Recently, the American and Canadian media have been giving more attention to a worrying phenomenon that is growing in the US (although not just in this country) and that is raising serious ethical issues: the increase in clinics that administer stem cell therapies that have not been authorized by the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA). A study published by American researchers and a Canadian bioethicist has documented this phenomenon for the first time. Overall, the researchers found that nearly 600 unauthorized clinics have sprung up in the United States in a kind of “wild wild west” of cellular therapy. These clinics offer purported stem cell treatments for all sorts of health problems, from back pain to cancer, and many patients don’t seem to weigh the risks of these therapies.
California is the hotbed state for these unauthorized clinics in the U.S. A review of their treatment methods shows significant problems that could actually worsen a patient’s condition (contamination of injected products, adverse immune response, etc.). When patients resort to these clinics, they are turning away from legitimate treatments that can truly help them.
It was already known that countries like China and Mexico specialize in this type of under-regulated therapy that offers an illusion of the hope of recovery to very vulnerable people.
The study authors believe that public confidence in actual therapies can be undermined by this growing number of unscrupulous clinics and they are calling for tighter regulations.
Canadians are going to these clinics
National post has reported on this issue of medical tourism, as many Canadians who are seeking therapy for a serious illness (cancer, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s, etc.) are heading to these unauthorized clinics, and many patients and their families are raising money over social networks to pay for these extremely expensive treatments. Many of these unregulated clinics actively recruit patients by overstating the results of their approach, while others use patient “testimonials” that aren’t supported by medical evidence.
Our resources can keep you informed
CellCAN is asking the public to be very careful about medical tourism. Your health is too valuable to be put in the hands of people whose only goal is to make money. Therapy as complex as stem cell therapy can only be administered safely and can only lead to actual results at institutions that fully comply with regulated standards.
Find out more about medical tourism by reading our brochure.
The more informed you are, the better off we all are!