How much is stem cell therapy? 2019 cost poll results

How much is stem cell therapy? Polls
How much is stem cell therapy? Polls
How much are stem cells? 2019 stem cell treatment cost polling.

After almost a decade blogging about stem cells from just about every angle, it’s interesting to consider trends in the types of questions I get asked such as this much more common one now as compared to 2010: How much is stem cell therapy?

What does a patient pay on average for stem cells in 2019? How much does insurance cover?

Cost is on people’s minds.

In a way that’s not so surprising for a few reasons. First, as compared to many years back, people now view stem cell injections as a more everyday thing. Stem cell therapy is often available just down the street at a local strip mall. Back in 2010 and in the 5 or so years after that, people more viewed stem cells as some amazing thing out of reach at that time.

Sadly, a major part of the reason for the change is the tidal wave of stem cell clinics from coast to coast in the US selling unproven offerings.

At the same time, some universities and large medical centers also sell stem cell offerings that aren’t proven. I’m worried that number may be increasing too and patients may be paying there at the very high end, sometimes above $100K.

Other stem cell suppliers and clinics market stem cell-related “stuff” that isn’t real stem cells such as platelet rich plasma or PRP or injections of often “dead” perinatal stem cell products. The cost of PRP is typically half or even much less than that of a stem cell injection.

For all these reasons about once every year or two, I do polling asking the readers of The Niche here about their experiences.

How much did you pay per injection? How many injections did you get? Where did you get them?

The 2019 polling can be found here, but some of the key results are captured in a combo screenshot I’ve included here.

Keep in mind that the total cost of stem cell “therapy” is the product of the cost/injection times the # of injections.

stem cell cost 2018
Survey reported stem cell cost in 2018.

What you can see is that a plurality of respondents reported getting one stem cell injection, but 60% of people nonetheless got more than one stem cell injection. Remarkably about 1 in 20-25 people received more than 20 stem cell injections.

About another 1 in 20 people got 6-20 injections. I find this amount of repeat injections to be surprising and concerning as it amplifies health and financial risks.

In terms of cost per injection, the results are pretty similar to 2018 (see at right below) on the whole. This kind of polling isn’t super scientific, but can gauge trends. Unfortunately, I haven’t really seen much other published data on stem cell clinic costs.

I don’t know if it’s noise or not, but the % of people paying over $100K is about 2-fold higher in 2019. More people may be paying $10K-$20K as well now.

On the economic side, you might think that the feds like the FTC would be active related to false or even fraudulent marketing of stem cells via the web and other kinds of advertising, but in total so far the FTC to my knowledge has only taken one action. It’s odd that there was just that one blip considering the sea of questionable stem cell clinic-related ads out there everywhere from major newspapers to inflight magazines to mobile ads on a stem-cell-mobile to television. Then of course there are the infomercial seminars.

Patients are often reaching out to me so I know that many of them have gone to extraordinary measures to raise the money to pay unproven stem cell clinics so it’s painful to think about what little they get in return. Since we are by definition talking about unproven medical procedures here, in my view this money is largely down the drain.

If you have other data on stem cell economic issues such as what patients pay please let me know. Then there’s the issue of what it actually costs the clinics per injection and in turn: what’s their profit margin?

19 Comments

  1. Paul,
    When are you going to write about animal Stem Cells. ABC is talking big success stories about animal stem Cells and claims he has used Animal stem cells fro rabbit embryos to cure Cereberal Palsy. All in countries where no regulations exist.
    (Editor’s note: the firm’s name was deleted from this comment).

  2. In relation to this article I have contacted 3 different clinics outside the USA with regard to my condition, and the cost of their treatment. Neil Riordan PhD. in Panama at his clinic $23,000.00 for systemic treatment, IV MSCs. Dream Body in Puerto Vallarta $8000.00 for 300×10^6 IV systemic treatment. Hope Hospital in Guangdong (near Hong Kong) $16,000.00 IV systemic treatment.

  3. I have reviewed two companies, NSI stem cell and amnion.us
    Focused on resolving diabetes..type 1.5
    Any insights?

    • A quick look raises a number of red flags for me. For one thing, stem cells are portrayed as a panacea in the marketing. It doesn’t make sense to me.
      On the 1st one it’s hard to even tell who the person is who would do the injections based on their website and a little research led to a chiropractor as a leader at NSI. I have no problem with chiropractors in a general sense, but I don’t think they should be selling unproven stem cells.
      Also, most amniotic materials likely often don’t even have real living stem cells in them and in the past 1-2 years we’ve seen many problems with birth-related stem cells.
      In general, at best this kind of thing is a big waste of money and at worst one could have bad outcomes.

  4. My son got 4 IV stem cell treatments for kidney disease, but it didn’t help. His disease has progressed. My father in-law had previously been at same clinic and had good results with both his knees.

  5. Do you hve any good results and cost on stem cell shots for hips. I live in Dallas and trying not to have hip surgery. Thk you.

    • If you are looking for a treatment recommendation from this blog, you obviously haven’t been reading it. There is no clinic or stem cell treatment in the world that @admin will recommend since none are approved by the US FDA. @admin, please correct me if I am wrong about that.

      • When I hear about a science-based therapy, I won’t dismiss it. But it has to be based in science, not marketing.

  6. You might have better luck with PRP for hips rather than stem cells at this point:

    Am J Sports Med. 2016 Mar;44(3):664-71. doi: 10.1177/0363546515620383. Epub 2016 Jan 21.
    Ultrasound-Guided Injection of Platelet-Rich Plasma and Hyaluronic Acid, Separately and in Combination, for Hip Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Study. Dallari D, Stagni C, Rani N, Sabbioni G, Pelotti P, Torricelli P, Tschon M, Giavaresi G

    There are lots of clinics around that can do PRP injections. The American Association of Orthopedic Medicine and the Hackett-Hemwall Foundation have lists of experienced practitioners on their websites.

  7. 21 months ago, I had stem cell injections from my pelvis to my shoulder by my doctor at an orthopaedic clinic in Tallahassee. I was in such pain from the arthritis in my left shoulder that I had spoken with the surgeon and we doing the preliminary work prior to surgery. The limitations on the arm were created by the bones being locked in place against each other with little to no cartilage. I couldn’t lift my arm over my head from the front nor the side and had no amount of movement toward the back and certainly couldn’t lift any weight which is a problem because my horse feed comes in 50 pound bags and saddles are notoriously heavy. I couldn’t sleep in my bed about half the time and resorted to sleeping in the recliner in tears. I had the stem cells injected into my shoulder on Feb 2018. At the same time, he also injected 2 doses in to my left knee MCL and patellar tendon, both of which had been damaged in different accidents – the MCL in a twisting, snappy turn to the right and just 6 weeks later the patellar tendon after a metal set of stairs collapsed when the rivets gave way.

    After the treatment, the tendons were the first things to be noticeable with most of the soreness gone from the MCL. The range of motion on the patellar tendon went from 15 degrees sitting in a chair and trying to swing the knee up to a 90 degree extension to about 80-85 degrees, where it remains to date. The tendon stretched so much that the knee cap is about an 1 1/2 inches above where it should be. The loss of most of the pain and function of these tendons improved within a month. I didn’t notice the anything really until about 5 months down the road when it occurred to me that I hadn’t sleep in the recliner for the last month and range of motion was on the increase., I can now raise my arm over my head within in 5-10 degrees of fully vertical and am using it help with the feed distribution. I still can’t get it behind my back but I can use the darned thing for anything in front of me. I occasionally annoy it and set off some pain with what I am doing: putting in licensed daylily and iris garden, messing with my horses, and trimming and cutting trees that were damaged and uprooted during Hurricane Michael.

    I can’t tell you what a difference this made in my life. I am going to see Dr. Stours and have another x-ray done and compare the before and after on the shoulder. I may have artificial knees but my shoulder is still my own. My doctor has been having treatments in his own arthritic knees for the last 17 years and still has his knees too. He approached both the insurance companies and out legislators in Florida in an effort to show data that makes the case that this treatment is worth covering. In’ my case, the payment was $2,500 which was a lot less than replacing a shoulder. It might have taken a bit longer to recover from but it is still improving day by day. Was it worth the money? You bet. Do I think insurance companies should cover it? Yes, indeed. My doctor said that this treatment requires good techique and a lot of the researchers haven’t had enough experience or training to get the results that he gets.

    Barbara Speck

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