Cord Blood and Medical Misinformation

The big business of unproven stem cell treatments


J. Nielsen (Shorenstein Center)

Supported by

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - Giving & Philanthropy


February 28, 2022

David Greene, who lost his medical license in 2009 after botched surgeries resulted in several deaths, is a marketing CEO in the United States whose lucrative business sells unproven—and sometimes dangerous—medical treatments using birth tissues. While stem cell therapies are effective treatments for a limited list of diseases, Greene and his marketing strategies have persuaded customers that stem cell therapy is a near cure-all. His company claims to have treated 10,000 people.

Offline, Greene gets new clients by hosting events in hotels and conference centers. Online, his marketing relies on testimonials, recontextualized media, purchased awards, and paid advertising.

Investigation into these marketing strategies shows that Greene is profiting off a business model that is based on phony science. Greene has manipulated search engines via keyword squatting to bury bad press and invested heavily in his own scam. In reputation management, he employs pay-for-play awards, Facebook marketing, and native advertising so that articles about his product are integrated into otherwise reputable news coverage.

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