Gov’t to tighten rules on stem cell therapy
Hospitals offering stem cell therapy have until Aug. 31 to seek or renew their accreditation from the Department of Health (DOH), a Palace official said Friday.
“For the information of the public, the DOH is accrediting hospitals for this kind of treatment, and come Aug. 31, these hospitals should file their accreditation requirements (with DOH) for them to continue to offer this treatment,” said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.
The government is eyeing stricter regulation of hospitals offering stem cell therapy amid speculations that the recent deaths of three politicians were due to the xenogenic (animal-based stem cell) treatment they had received in Germany last year.
Dr. Leo Olarte, president of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) and spokesperson of the Philippine Society for Stem Cell Medicine, said the groups were still trying to determine whether the politicians had died due to their illness or due to hypersensitivity reaction from the xenogenic stem cells.
Last week, the PMA also warned of a possible scam involving German doctors coming over to perform stem cell therapy on patients in five-star hotels at around P1 million per shot.
Valte echoed a similar warning from the DOH against doctors offering the procedure in their clinics, saying that “hospitals, not (individual) doctors, nor stand-alone clinics, are the ones being accredited.”
Not a ‘cure all’
The Palace official also cautioned the public against claims that stem cell therapy was a “cure all” (for diseases).
“There is no treatment that will cure all of your ills. Much less your love problems,” Valte said.
She said that hospitals or medical facilities violating the DOH directive could be shut down, with the license of the medical practitioner engaged in the banned practice suspended or revoked.
“Let’s not be fooled,” Valte said, warning of the proliferation of “stand-alone clinics that offer skin rejuvenation to make (people) look younger.”
To stop the proliferation of clinics offering fake stem cell treatment, Valte said the DOH had issued an administrative order (AO) in March, authorizing only autologous adult stem cell treatment, or that which uses only stem cells derived from the patient’s own blood, bone marrow or fat.
The health department’s AO contained the implementing rules and regulations that cover stem cell and cell-based therapy to prevent abuses and dubious practices.
Health Secretary Enrique Ona said the rules restricted the use of genetically altered stem cells and tissues of human adults, those from the umbilical cord, fat-derived human stem cells and live animal stem cells.
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