Direct-to-consumer marketing of stem cell interventions by Canadian businesses.
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AIM: This study examines marketing claims of Canadian businesses engaged in direct-to-consumer advertising of putative stem cell treatments.METHODS: Internet searches were used to locate Canadian businesses selling stem cell interventions. Company websites were subjected to detailed analysis.RESULTS: In total, 30 Canadian businesses sell stem cell interventions provided at 43 clinics. Autologous stem cells are the most common types of products promoted by such businesses. Company websites minimize risks while making strong claims about benefits of stem cell interventions.DISCUSSION: Businesses’ representations could result in patients making health-related decisions informed by marketing claims rather than best available scientific evidence.CONCLUSION: Although there is absent development of new regulations and guidance, the Canadian direct-to-consumer marketplace for stem cell interventions appears poised for expansion.
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