Medical colleges: Tell your members to stop providing unproven stem cell therapies


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4 comments

  1. Linda Latcham

    Really disappointing,as a taxpayer, to hear a professional try to stop freedom of information.
    It is very clear to most of the public how narrow the medical practice has become with confining too many treatment options to the sale of pharmaceuticals. There is a great deal of unbiased science published in the medical journals for alternative treatments of many medical conditions that is being either not learned by this profession or ignored in favour of the antiquated status quo. It is costly to our systems to spend 10 minutes assessing patient needs and then limiting treatments to drugs, diet and exercise. Let’s start seeing the kind of medicine that we are paying for, which is thoughtful and open to options. Let’s widen the knowledge base and perspectives in this medical field to achieve what we are paying for, which is to cure patients, not just put a bandaid on and give out prescriptions that are often times causing more harm than good. Let’s take the hierarchy and politics out of medicine and start “doing no harm”. Let’s also start respecting patients. Doctors do not have a license to judge the patients that are paying their wages and prevent them from seeking to understand their options. Perhaps if they spent more time getting to know their patients, they might also learn to communicate with them about options. The doctor patient relationship should be a collaborative one, not a dictatorship. It’s time the medical profession becomes accountable to the people it is paid by to serve, not to its own organizations.

    • Common Sense

      Great comment and I agree. I feel the same way but over time I have learned that the problem is not the “doctors” and “colleges”. Most people go into medicine with a genuine interest to heal people. Somewhere in the course of training, this ideal gets shattered. There are many factors, and yes I truly believe pharmaceutical industries are one of the factors to blame. Take for instance this entire issue we are now facing with narcotic addictions. 10-20 years ago Pfizer actually made false claims which were printed into medical education booklets about Pain Management. I still have a copy of one of these books that we used during our pain education week. Now the truth comes out that this industry knew of the dangers of oxycontin addiction but was lying to the physicians and public to increase their profits. If you take any really popular drug or treatment approach (Lipitor or heart disease management through lowering fats for instance) and you look at the actual published studies that support the medication or strategty you start to see that a lot of what we push on people is based on maybe 1 or 2 actual studies from 30 years ago, which some are actually now having trouble replicating. We sort of accepted the results and pharma kept saying “yes this is safe”. Now thanks to the internet, we can find research from other countries that are questioning some of the validity of our practices.
      However, the main problem is the fact that in Canada we have purely public health care. Sure, we can all get care “for free” (i.e. from our taxes), but because of this focus on making sure we are all equal, we all get to attend affordable Mickey Mouse clinics as the government cannot possibly pay for us to have the option to go to the most advanced treatments, and likelwise cannot afford to have physicians spend more than 10 minutes per patient. There is no focus on good outcomes when the patient is not paying out of pocket, the focus is on pushing the patient through the system as fast as possible to make room for the next patient, all the while doctors love this because they charge fee for service (i.e. get paid for 6 assessments per hour instead of 1-2 with adequate time for each). I think there is value in having private options. Private business will need to provide results for clients in order to gain a reputation and attract more clients. People also have the right to spend their money in whichever way they want, and if they want to try a treatment that regular docs find “controversial”, that’s their right. Not sure if these authors are aware, but MDs make mistakes and MDs do not know everything. For the record, I know a couple of individuals who did the stem cell thing for OA pain in their joints and have excellent results over a year later (props for reducing dependence on pain meds for these folks). It might not work on everyone, but it does for some.

  2. Eloise Jarvis

    I have had USTC in April 2017 and booster treatments in April 2018. I have osteoarthritis from my neck to my toes. The pain was 9 to 10. I felt like my left great toe was stepping on a spike with every step My mobility and flexibility was greatly reduced. Without a handrail, I was unable to navigate stairs up or down. I was told that I needed to have my right knee replaced and I should come back when I could not manage any more. To me, that was not an option because I heel with keloid and scar tissue. Needless to say, I was preparing to leave my bungalow. I asked the doctor who was treating me with prolotherapy and PRP if I would be a candidate for USTC and I was prepared to go to the USA for the treatment to get some relief. (prior to Health Canada approval in Canada). He told me to wait because they were just waiting for this approval. The results have been incredible! My pain is about 1-2 now. I can go up and down stains without pulling myself up, my mobility and strength have improved significantly. I am no longer thinking about leaving my home, I volunteer at 1 or 2 places every day, I participate in social activities almost every day, I garden, I look after my home and I have quality life again. I have paid a lot to improve my health because health care funding is completely missing or inadequate for arthritis treatments. Some people do not fit in the narrow box of acceptable treatment. Please don’t deny access and hope when there are no viable options for some of us.

  3. Henk Wevers

    I am glad you published this opinion. I would wish it could be a directive. Canada’s approval processes in many areas from airplanes to drugs and foodstuffs often follow FDA USA leadership and also apply the principle of buyer beware, even in medical procedures. When there are problems the regulators expect the consumer or the doctors for example in medical procedures to report these problems that then are forwarded to the private enterprises that made or applied these products and procedures. It’s like putting the fox in charge of the hen house. Can it be any different? Maybe not as scientific evidence is very expensive and time consuming. But maybe on an international scale it could be done? Which begs the question for increased global standardisation and science based approval processes.

    Locally and among my friends enthusiasm for stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis is boundless. At $2500 a pop it is not much more than a car repair job, and the clients line up for the treatment because it gives them hope by the lay-priests of medicine who like to play God for the right price.

    Thank you again for your professional stance, it is reassuring to see ethical people stand up and speak up.

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