Google this week introduced a new policy that forbids advertising for unproven or experimental medical techniques. The new Healthcare and medicines policy prohibits advertising for unproven or experimental medical techniques such as most stem cell therapy, cellular (non-stem) therapy, and gene therapy.
According to Google, the new restriction also include treatments that are rooted in basic scientific findings and preliminary clinical experience, but currently have insufficient formal clinical testing to justify widespread clinical use.
“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,” said Deepak Srivastava, President of The International Society for Stem Cell Research.
Adrienne Biddings, Policy Adviser at Google, clarifies that Google will continue to allow advertising for research happening in this space for clinical trials and the ability for clinicians to promote their research findings to the public.