Palace cautions public on stem cell treatment

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Friday, June 28, warned Filipinos about seeking stem cell therapy from unaccredited practitioners, a treatment 3 lawmakers received before they died and which is now being investigated as possible cause of their deaths.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the public should take precaution, since it's not the cure-all for illnesses. "The so-called ‘cure all’ is fake. There is no treatment that will ‘cure all’ of your ills,” Valte told reporters in response to questions about stem cell treatments.

She reiterated the Department of Health's (DOH) reminder to choose DOH-accredited hospitals for the treatment, warning clinics and hospitals that offer it without accreditation. “Let me repeat, it’s the hospital that must be accredited, not the doctor. Not the individual. Those stand-alone clinics, they cannot get accreditation from the DOH. So that is our warning to our fellowmen,” Valte said.

According to Valte, hospitals must file for accreditation with the DOH by August 31 to continue offering the treatment.

Earlier this week, the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) released a press statement saying it suspects that 3 solons of the 15th Congress may have died because of stem cell treatments from unauthorized doctors in Germany. The PMA said it would investigate the deaths.

The congressmen were not named by PMA, but among those who died recently were Bohol Rep Erico AumentadoCamiguin Rep Pedro Romualdo and Negros Occidental Rep Ignacio Arroyo.

Don't seek treatment

At least one government official, Dangerous Drugs Board chairman Antonio Villar, has admitted he had stem cell therapy.

Villar said he underwent P900,000-worth of stem cell treatments at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel, but said he has so far not experienced any benefits from his therapy.

With more treatments promising skin rejuvenation to make people look younger, DOH has disseminated information on the different kinds of stem cell treatment and the need to rely on accredited hospitals.

The PMA also continues to issue warnings, emphasizing that stem cells from animals are dangerous. It also cautioned Filipinos against seeking treatment abroad. -