Timothy Caulfield (@CaulfieldTim), a friend of the blog and health policy expert in Alberta, wrote a terrific piece for The Walrus on recent trends in exploiting good science and vulnerable patients by promising revolutionary cures. Entitled “Blinded by Science”, the essay demonstrates how difficult it is for the public to remain skeptical in the face of these miraculous claims:
“As noted earlier, these bogus treatments are rarely cheap. Not long ago, I followed a website dedicated to raising money to send an infant girl with an incurable neurological disorder to China for stem cell therapy. The site, created by the child’s parents, requested donations and posted a public countdown for the trip. Its home page displayed a box with the number of days, hours, minutes, and seconds left until the family left for China for the treatment. As the page explained, the parents wanted their little girl to be able to “walk, talk, and see.” Such stories are heartbreaking—and infuriating. Much of the money raised from friends, family, and well-intentioned strangers likely ended up in the pockets of providers who either knowingly deceived the public about the value of the treatment—fraud of the cruellest sort—or wilfully ignored what peer-reviewed literature says about the state of the science.”
Go read the whole thing here!