Laurie McGinley and William Wan of the Washington Post broke the story this morning that Google has a new biomedical ad policy that may really shake things up for stem cell clinics. Google announced the new policy on its blog that will restrict advertisements for unproven stem cell clinics, cellular and gene therapies. This is great news.
“We regularly review and revise our advertising policies. Today, we’re announcing a new Healthcare and medicines policy to prohibit advertising for unproven or experimental medical techniques such as most stem cell therapy, cellular (non-stem) therapy, and gene therapy. This new policy will prohibit ads selling treatments that have no established biomedical or scientific basis. The new policy also 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.”
The FDA likely helped spark this new policy, if nothing else indirectly via their increased action and blunt public statements against what they (and Google, probably not coincidentally) call “bad actors” in this area. Also perhaps not coincidentally, the FDA came out with a major announcement/warning on stem cells a few days ago. You can see a screenshot from the FDA video in the warning that I’ve included here.
There’s a potential caveat though about the new policy, which will go into effect next month.
“Some industry representatives criticized Google’s new ad policy on Friday. The ban on ads will unfairly devastate “good” companies along with “bad actors” without discriminating which ones are trying to treat patients safely and follow evolving FDA regulations, said Andrew Ittleman, a Miami lawyer who represents several stem cell clinics.”