Millions Of Dollars Collected For Cancer Treatments Go To Scammers

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Millions Of Dollars Collected For Cancer Treatments Go To Scammers
Millions Of Dollars Collected For Cancer Treatments Go To Scammers

Video: Millions Of Dollars Collected For Cancer Treatments Go To Scammers

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Video: Feds: Doctor scammed cancer patients 2023, January
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Millions of dollars collected for cancer treatments go to scammers

Fundraising for expensive treatments, including cancer, through online campaigns is becoming more common. A study published in BMJ found that very often huge amounts of collective effort are spent on treatments that are not scientifically sound or even harm patients.

Millions of dollars collected for cancer treatments go to scammers
Millions of dollars collected for cancer treatments go to scammers

Photo: Wikimedia Commons /

Fundraising for expensive treatments, including cancer, through online campaigns is becoming more common. A study published in BMJ found that very often huge amounts of collective effort are spent on treatments that are not scientifically sound or even harm patients.

The report was written by British journalist Melanie Newman, and the analysis was conducted by the Good Thinking Society, a nonprofit that promotes science. The researchers looked at data from two of the largest UK crowdfunding services: GoFundMe and JustGiving. According to them, about $ 10.4 million has been raised for alternative cancer treatments that are not covered by the English health system (NHS).

Most of the funds were spent on medical treatment abroad through private clinics in the United States, Mexico, Thailand and other countries. Many of these clinics, as well as the doctors who practice in them, have often been criticized and even officially sanctioned for their activities.

For example, in Texas, the Burzynski Clinic has existed for decades, opened by Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski. It offers treatment of advanced cancer cases with experimental neoplastons. This method has never been approved in any country, clinical trials conducted in accordance with the necessary standards, it also has not passed.

The US FDA and the Texas Medical Board have tried to bring Burzhinski to justice. Last year, sanctions were imposed on the clinic for incorrectly informing patients about the risk of treatment, as well as for the fact that people with no medical education practiced in the clinic. But Bruzhinski stayed afloat, getting off with a small fine.

According to the report, hundreds of thousands of dollars raised through crowdfunding went to the above clinic. There is a special site that collects the stories of former patients of the clinic who returned home with empty wallets and died soon after.

“We are concerned that many UK patients are collecting huge sums of money for treatments that are not scientifically justified and that in many cases could harm them,” said Michael Marshall, Good Thinking Society's project director.

The problem is not limited to England. Another study found that in the United States and Canada, many spend similarly raised funds on stem cell therapy in semi-legal clinics. We are not aware of such studies in Russia.

The Good Thinking Society is urging crowdfunding services to rethink cancer fundraising policies and reject proposals for certain discredited drugs, extreme diets, IV vitamin C, alkaline therapy, and other alternative therapies.

The Good Thinking Society believes that people with advanced cancer who are looking for alternative treatments are understandable. But Marshall noted that if these platforms want to continue to profit from the goodwill of their users, they must ensure that vulnerable categories of people are not exploited by unscrupulous clinics, and scammers must not profit from this. GoFundM e told BMJ that it would take action, but JustGiving refused to respond.

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