Matthew T. Kingery
A review of nearly 900 medical practice websites showed the clinical efficacy of stem cell therapy in direct-to-consumer advertising was not accurately represented in most practices.
Matthew T. Kingery, BA, a fourth-year medical student at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, and colleagues identified 896 websites of practices that advertise stem cell therapy directly to patients with musculoskeletal disease, and evaluated these websites to determine the specialties of providers offering stem cell therapy, types of stem cell therapy being advertised and misinformation presented. Researchers included false general claims, inaccurate statements regarding the mechanism of action, unfounded results and scare tactics as categories of misinformation.
Results showed 95.9% of practice websites had at least one statement of misinformation. Among the websites, researchers found a mean of approximately 4.65 statements of misinformation. When controlled for the effects of other specialties, practices with an orthopedic surgeon or a podiatrist had a 22% decrease in total statements of misinformation, according to results. Researchers noted 23%, 17% and 30% fewer false general claims among practices associated with an orthopedic surgeon, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician or a podiatrist, respectively.
Although practices associated with physicians who did not specialize in musculoskeletal pathology made up a significant percentage of misinformed marketing, Kingery noted orthopedic practices were “not free of false claims.”
“The most important clinical takeaway is that physicians need to make a better effort to maintain ethical and legal advertising practices in their marketing of biologics to patients,” Kingery told Healio Orthopedics. “Physicians — particularly orthopedic surgeons as the experts in musculoskeletal injury and disease — have a responsibility to accurately represent all forms of treatment to their patients.” – by Casey Tingle
Disclosures: Kingery reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.