Google has banned ads for unproven medical treatments. The search engine company announced the new healthcare and medicine policy on Friday.
No More Ads For Quack Treatment
Google policy advisor Adrienne Biddings wrote in a blog post that the new policy will cover ads selling treatments with no established biomedical or scientific basis.
The new policy means there would be no more ads for young blood transfusions and vampire facials.
The ban will also include ads for treatments that may have scientific findings and preliminary clinical experience but still lack sufficient formal clinical testing to warrant widespread clinical use, which include stem cell therapies and gene therapies.
Google acknowledged the dangers of promoting snake oil treatments online.
"We have seen a rise in bad actors attempting to take advantage of individuals by offering untested, deceptive treatments. Often times, these treatments can lead to dangerous health outcomes and we feel they have no place on our platforms," Biddings said.
Crackdown On The Stem Cell Treatment Industry
The Washington Post reported that the change was made in response to an outcry over the marketing of stem cell therapies on the internet.
Stem cell clinics promote the treatment for a range of health conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration, ALS, multiple sclerosis, and degenerative lung diseases.
Critics say these clinics are taking advantage of ill patients and could be extremely dangerous for patients. At least five patients have so far been reported of becoming blind after stem cell clinics injected their product into their eyes.
Deepak Srivastava, President of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, which gave Google advice on the new policy, said that while stem cell treatments hold great potential in helping researchers understand and treat diseases, most stem cell interventions are still in the experimental stage, and should only be given through well-regulated clinical trials.
"The premature marketing and commercialization of unproven stem cell products threatens public health, the confidence in biomedical research, and undermines the development of legitimate new therapies," Srivastava said
Google will continue to allow advertising for researchers for clinical trials and for clinicians who want to promote the findings of their research.