Snake Oil Sellers
On Friday, Google announced the establishment of a new Google Ads healthcare and medicines policy that prohibits sellers from hawking unproven or experimental medical treatments and therapies, including many stem cell and gene therapies.
“[W]e have seen a rise in bad actors attempting to take advantage of individuals by offering untested, deceptive treatments,” Google wrote in a blog post. “Often times, these treatments can lead to dangerous health outcomes and we feel they have no place on our platforms.”
Exceptions to the Rule
Google isn’t banning all ads for cutting-edge treatments, however. Its blog post reassures users that “there are good actors in this space as well, doing important research that may lead to major advances in medicine.”
To that end, the company will continue to allow medical researchers to promote their findings on experimental therapies via ads, as well as accepts ads from researchers looking for participants in related clinical trials.
Experts appear to back Google’s decision, too, with International Society for Stem Cell Research President Deepak Srivastava contributing a statement to the blog post.
“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,” Srivastava said. “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. ”
READ MORE: Google is banning ads for quack cures after years of profiting from them [MIT Technology Review]
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