Health Policy & Advocacy
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
Electronic Health Records Bogging Docs DownMore Are Seeking Mental Health Care, But Not Always Those Who Need It MostMillions of Americans Still Breathing Secondhand Smoke: ReportNew Approach to Opioid Crisis: Supervised Heroin Injection Programs?Many Americans Unaware of Promise of Targeted, 'Personalized' Medicine: PollAs Gun Violence Grows, U.S. Life Expectancy DropsMost Americans Lie to Their DoctorsOpioid Crisis, Suicides Driving Decline in U.S. Life Expectancy: CDCWant to Learn CPR? Try an Automated KioskHealth Surrogates Often in Dark About Loved One's WishesRestaurant 'Health Grade' Posters Could Mean Safer DiningSmoking Bans Might Help Nonsmokers' Blood PressureWarmer Winters, More Violent Crimes?Are Food Additives Good or Bad? Consumer Views VaryDrug Studies in Children Often Go Unfinished: StudyFDA Moves to Restrict Flavored E-Cig Sales, Ban Menthol CigarettesAgeism Costs Billions in Health Care DollarsAmerica Is Worried About Antibiotic ResistanceRed Cross Issues Urgent Call for Blood Ahead of the HolidaysUnder Pressure, Juul Withdraws Most Flavored E-Cigs From MarketMany Drugstores Won't Dispense Opioid Antidote as RequiredNew Cholesterol Guidelines Focus on Personalized ApproachAHA: Defibrillators Can Help Kids Survive Cardiac Arrest, TooFDA Will Ban Many Flavored E-CigarettesU.S. Smoking Rates Hit Record LowOnly a Quarter of Opioid Painkillers Taken After Most SurgeriesHome Health-Care Tests: Proceed With CautionFDA Takes on Flatulent CowsWhy Bystanders Are Less Likely to Give CPR to WomenCellphone Radiation Tied to Upped Odds for Cancer -- in RatsHealth Tip: FDA Discusses Possible Risks of Bodybuilding ProductsU.S. Hospitals Making Headway Against InfectionsAfter Mass Shootings, Blood Donations Can Go UnusedLead in Hair Dyes Must Go: FDAIn California, Some Doctors Sell 'Medical Exemptions' for Kids' VaccinationsGot Unused Prescription Meds? Saturday Is National Drug Take-Back DayFDA Too Quick to Call BPA Chemical Safe, Health Experts SayIs Crowdfunding Too Often Used for Bogus Treatments?Many Supplements Still Contain Dangerous Stimulants: StudyTapping Into TelehealthMenthol Cig Ban Didn't Spur Black Market Sales: StudyHip-Hop Loaded With Pot, Cigarette ReferencesWhite House Wants Prices in Drug Ads, But Big Pharma Fights BackMany Supplements Contain Unapproved, Dangerous Ingredients: StudyE-Cigs Continue to Spark Debate Over Health Risks/BenefitsClinical Trials Need More VolunteersGetting Your Medical Records Might Not Be EasyMost People Don't Know if They Have Genetic Risk for CancerConsumer Reports Says Warnings About Tainted Beef Don't Go Far EnoughThe Physician Assistant Will See You Now
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Health Insurance
Healthcare

Is Crowdfunding Too Often Used for Bogus Treatments?

HealthDay News
by By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Oct 23rd 2018

new article illustration

TUESDAY, Oct. 23, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Crowdfunding pleas for dubious or potentially unsafe medical treatments are increasingly common, and raised nearly $7 million on social media in two years, researchers report.

An ill patient pleading for naturopathic cancer treatments or hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be hard to resist. Ditto a parent seeking antibiotics for their child for chronic Lyme disease.

None of these treatments are proven to be of value, experts note.

But this new study illustrates a grave "potential for misinformation and 'fake news' to spread," said Dr. Vineet Arora, a professor of medicine at the University of Chicago.

The report warns that many Americans use crowdfunding websites such as GoFundMe to perform end-runs around their doctors and insurance carriers in order to finance medical procedures that can be untested, ineffective and/or potentially dangerous.

"It's a huge trend," said study lead author Dr. Ford Vox, a brain injury specialist at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.

Vox and his colleagues reviewed medical postings from November 2015 until December 2017 on four American and Canadian crowdfunding sites: GoFundMe, YouCaring, CrowdRise and FundRazr.

They zeroed in on campaigns for five medically unsupported "treatments" in eight countries: homeopathy or naturopathy for cancer; hyperbaric (atmospherically pressurized) oxygen therapy for brain trauma; stem cell therapy for brain injuries; stem cell therapy for spinal cord injuries, and long-term antibiotic therapy for chronic Lyme disease.

Despite a lack of evidence supporting these therapies, researchers found that more than 1,000 campaigns raised more than $6.7 million. Ninety-eight percent of the postings appeared on GoFundMe, and the cumulative goal was to raise more than $27 million.

At the high end, nearly 500 funding pleas for homeopathic/naturopathic cancer treatments took in more than $3.4 million, the researchers found.

Nearly 200 campaigns for hyperbaric oxygen therapy raised about $785,000. Requests to fund stem cell therapy for brain and spinal cord injuries drew more than $1.8 million. And controversial long-term antibiotic therapy for Lyme disease raised about $689,000.

Those numbers, said Vox, reflect the rise of an "explosive" and unregulated market for accessing treatments that are neither safe nor effective. "Ultimately, there is a lot of legal but bad medicine out there," he added.

Assuming the money went where it was promised to go, donors "indirectly contributed millions of dollars to practitioners to deliver dubious, possibly unsafe care," Vox and his research team wrote in a letter published Oct. 23 in Journal of the American Medical Association.

Vox and others agree there are plenty of legitimate medical crowdfunding requests.

But medical crowdfunding "erodes public trust in the medical and scientific enterprise, if it brings attention to treatments that are not supported by science," said Arora, who wasn't involved in the study. "This erosion can also make it harder to advance trust when treatments are [effective]."

Vox said crowdfunding sites "need to recognize the potential downside and accept a certain level of responsibility." He suggested they work with the academic and bioethics community to determine how best to move forward.

Arora added that "the public has a right to unbiased and accurate information about both the proven risk and benefit of medical treatments." Ensuring that, she said, may require new regulations.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute talks about complementary cancer treatments.




Facebook

Amazon Smile

To quit smoking, call Connecticut QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Children and Adult services are available now with no wait time.  Please contact HBH Intake Department at 860-548-0101, option 2.

 


powered by centersite dot net