Stem cell treatment cost: you often don’t get what you pay for

stem cell treatment cost

How much does a stem cell treatment cost?

$5,000 is a nice round number that is probably close to the mark on average, butstem cell treatment cost the price varies a great deal and depends on many factors.

Factors that influence perceived average price include what one actually sees as being under that umbrella term “stem cell treatment.” Does the transplant from a stem cell clinical trial count as a “treatment”? I’m not sure it should, but many view it as qualifying for that definition. By and large, you shouldn’t have to pay for the investigational offering itself in such a trial.

There may be other costs though such as hotel, food, travel, and certain expenses that neither the trial itself nor insurance will cover.

Once stem cell treatments are fully proven to be safe and effective as well as finally FDA approved, the costs are going to be high in many cases, but perhaps low cumulatively relative to standard medical care especially for chronic or severe conditions.  I’ve posted in the past about what FDA-approved stem cell therapies may cost in the future including here.

Within the for-profit stem cell clinic sphere, some of which characterize themselves as offering “clinical trials” and/or are listed in, the costs you pay as a patient depend on certain factors including what profit margins the clinics are aiming for when they recruit you as a customer. I’ve posted before on for-profit stem cell clinic treatment cost as well here.

Notably, in the past few years probably due to competition from the hundreds of businesses out there, stem cell clinic charges to patients have dropped somewhat. A few stem cell clinics that mention price online seemed to hover around $4,500 for the first treatment and less for additional injections. A recent ad for a stem cell clinic recruiter suggested cost per treatment for patients was around $8,500.

I also did an internet poll last month (September 2017) asking readers of this blog who have had a stem cell treatment to indicate the range of the price that they paid. Overall, from what I understand from talking to patients, from the poll, and from talking to clinics over the years, at present most stem cell clinic-based offerings cost from $2,500-$7,500 per transplant. In the poll about 1/6 patients paid more, anywhere from $10,000 to above $100,000. Of course, such polling is not rigorous, but there isn’t much info out there. Some patients are encouraged to get more than one treatment from a business so that’s another factor that can multiple total cost.

Another question is, “was the treatment worth the cost?”

Overall, I’d say that at clinics as a consumer you probably most often aren’t getting what you paid for, if one maintains high medical standards. Maybe almost never.


Many reasons come to mind.

Maybe the provider isn’t a specialist in the area of your condition (e.g. dermatologist treating your brain).

Often the therapy you purchased may have no living cells or have no actual stem cells in it (even as it is marketed as a “stem cell” therapy, suggesting to customers they are getting living stem cells.)

There usually will be no good, properly controlled data to back up safety and efficacy.

Follow-up to the infusion can be minimal.

The list goes on. A big overall factor here is that you are paying to be experimented upon, which in my view isn’t fair.

Another interesting question comes to mind: how much does it cost the clinics per “treatment” for stem cell offerings? And then, we can ask, how much profit do they make per treatment?

Clinics don’t open up about this stuff so it is left to some educated guesses and speculation. Apparently amniotic “stem cell” therapies often aren’t even real cell therapies and sometimes are just reconstituted protein extracts from amniotic membranes so cost there can be <$1,000 to the clinic.

Things like PRP, which are often mistakenly called “stem cell therapies”, can be cheap to make in the only hundreds of dollars a dose range. Adipose stem cell therapies involve multiple steps that can boost costs including liposuction and most often involve cellular processing into what is probably usually going to be a drug product. Bone marrow isolation isn’t trivial.

Other stem cell clinic offerings may cost the clinics anywhere from $1K-$2K, perhaps sometimes higher. The cost to the clinics more broadly will often depend on how careful they are with their QC and methods. The fact that so many clinics are not getting FDA approval surely reduces their costs, but at what cost to patients in terms of risks?

The economics of stem cells is an area more deserving of attention and it would benefit from hard data.


    • The FDA has funded stem cell research for decades, approved hundreds of clinical trials and given market approval for five MSC products for blood hematopoietic and immunological diseases. And don´t forget, bone marrow stem cell therapy has been around for 30 years.

    • It will be a very long time as stem cells represent direct competition to the patentable synthetic chemicals produced by pharma. The U.S. healthcare system is for-profit and that is their primary concern, not health.

  1. I had stem cell therapy using blood from myself and they injected into my knees. So far it feels great. My orthopedic doctor had been injecting cortisone into my knees every 4 months , had four times that, before getting stem cell from a clinic that specialized in stem cell injections.
    , Why don’t orthopedic surgeons use stem cell therapy instead of cortisone?

    • Janet, hope you are still feeling great! My Mom is 87 and has suffered with her knees for about 10 – 15 years. She recently saw a commercial on TV for stem cell therapy. She wants me to check in to this, but I have no idea where to start! Can you please enlighten me? Please email me any help at: pairofpairs213 @gmail,com. Thanks in advance.

  2. Beverly, I just Googled stem cell therapy and my city & state name. I had an injection in my ankle last week and it feels really great. I’m having a vitamin injection weekly for 12 weeks to make sure the cells have nutrition to grow.

  3. As a stem cell therapy provider I can tell you that the cost of umbilical cord stem cells “adult stem cells” is approximately $2500 per 30 million a typical treatment given via IV is based on weight 1 million live adult stem cells per kilo. Procedures involving a joint using ultra sound guided technique (used by many professional athletes) uses fewer stem cells but requires a physician.

    • Corey – $2500 for 30m cord blood stem cells is an amazing price if that is what you are offering the patient. Do tell, where can I sign up for that? I am most curious; from where do you purchase your stem cell. Liveyon? FYI – I had cord blood stem cell IV (COPD). The first treatment was $6K for 30m cells and I felt amazing. That feeling didn’t last long, however. My second treatment (4 months later) was $4K for 30m cells and I became terribly ill. The doctor overseeing the treatments is a chiropractor and insists, my reaction to the second treatment was a fluke. Apparently, most patients have “flu-like” symptoms after the first injection. He did not offer to lower my price for a third treatment, which I decided to have, but then changed my mind because I just don’t want to waste my money or get sick again. But, for $2500, indeed, I would try the treatment again. Let me know where I can get that, won’t you? I would purchase 60m cells.

      • @DR, I had asked Corey if this was the clinic’s own cost or the price tag for patients.
        It’d be valuable if you are comfortable sharing how you fell so ill after that one treatment? What were your symptoms? Did you seek medical care?

    • A chiropractor office told me yesterday they recommend 30 million stem cells via IV at a cost of $10,500.00. Umbilical Cord Stem Cells. And you are telling me the true cost is $2500? Wth

      • @Patty,
        It’s hard to say for sure, but the cost may be even substantially lower than $2500 to the clinic per dose.
        The other issue is that depending on the supplier and how the product is handled, it may be “misbranded” in the sense of not really containing any living stem cells (it may have other non-stem cells that are at best useless or at worst somewhat risky) or far fewer cells than is claimed. You could ask for lab data on the product as to the # of stem cells and what % are living.
        One particular product of this kind ended up sending 12 people to the hospital as it had E. coli in it.
        I’m not saying the specific product recommended at that particular office has these issues, but there are good reasons to ask a lot of questions. I also believe that price tag is incredibly high.
        I’m not an MD so I’m just giving you what is hopefully helpful context for making a decision. Talk to your primary care provider before making a decision.

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