Briefing

Health Canada orders three-dozen clinics offering stem-cell injections to halt immediately

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The clinics—operating in Alberta, Ontario, B.C. and Quebec—advertise treatments they claim can help with a range of issues, including heart problems and multiple sclerosis. However, Health Canada said there’s little evidence the treatments work.(Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: The rise of stem-cell injections is part of a broader trend toward medical treatments not backed by high-quality scientific evidence. In June, Goop, a controversial-wellness company whose products claim medical benefits without providing scientific evidence, opened its first Canadian pop-up store. The same month, an article in the journal Stem Cell Reports highlighted the rise of YouTube testimonials as powerful marketing tools for unproven stem-cell treatments. A video from actor Mel Gibson where he claims a stem-cell treatment led to a miraculous recovery for his father is now YouTube’s third-most watched video on stem cells. Canadian regulators attempts’ to shut down these kinds of clinics is already facing resistance. Some clinics plan to continue offering stem-cell injections until Health Canada takes a more punitive measure, like fining them.