Google bans ads for unproven therapies, including stem cells

San Francisco: Under a new health care and medicines policy, Google has announced to ban online ads for 'unproven or experimental medical techniques,' such as most stem cell therapy, cellular (non-stem) therapy and gene therapy.

"We know that important medical discoveries often start as unproven ideas and we believe that monitored, regulated clinical trials are the most reliable way to test and prove important medical advances. "At the same time, we have seen a rise in bad actors attempting to take advantage of individuals by offering untested, deceptive treatments. Often these treatments can lead to dangerous health outcomes and we feel they have no place on our platforms," Adrienne Biddings, Policy Adviser at Google, said in a statement.

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 their 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," said Deepak Srivastava, President, International Society for Stem Cell Research.

According to Google's announcement, they will continue to allow advertising for research happening in this space for clinical trials and the ability for clinicians to promote their research findings among the the public. As new findings come to light and regulatory bodies oversee developments in this field, Google will continue to evaluate policies and make updates as needed.

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