Quacks using crowdfunding sites to exploit patients, researchers claim

Study finds four well-known sites have raised millions of dollars for unproven therapies

Crowdfunding sites are "ripping off donors" and allowing patients to be "exploited by quacks" by raising large sums of money for ineffective and experimental treatments, such as homeopathic cancer treatments, researchers say.

The US team investigated medical campaigns on four crowdfunding sites: GoFundMe, YouCaring, CrowdRise and FundRazr.

They looked at campaigns posted between 1 November 2015 and 11 December 2017 for five treatments that they deemed scientifically unsupported, experimental or potentially dangerous:

  • Homeopathy or naturopathy for cancer
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for brain injury
  • Stem cell therapy
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Long-term antibiotic therapy for chronic Lyme disease

They found that out of a total of 1636 campaigns, more than half (1059)