Crowdfunding Sites Are Putting Money in the Pockets of Cancer Quacks, Report Finds
It’s become a heartbreakingly common sight on the internet: People using crowdfunding sites to raise money for their expensive health care, including cancer treatment. But a new report published Wednesday in the BMJ suggests that desperate people are often using this money to pursue dubious, possibly dangerous treatments from unscrupulous charlatans.
The report, written by freelance UK journalist Melanie Newman, details an analysis conducted by the Good Thinking Society, a nonprofit in the UK that advocates for scientific skepticism. And the analysis itself is based on data from two major crowdfunding sites used by UK residents, GoFundMe and JustGiving. According to the analysis, around £8 million ($10.4 million) has been raised for alternative cancer treatments, meaning those not covered by the country’s public health system, since 2012.
The majority of this money was used for treatments provided outside of the UK, via privately funded clinics in countries including the U.S., Mexico, and Thailand. Many of these clinics, as well as the doctors leading them, have been criticized and even officially punished for their medical claims and activities.