Stem cell therapy in American is currently in a state of flux. Some swear by stem cells while others will not touch them with a 10-foot pole. Thousands of clinics around the country offer stem cell injections for everything from osteoarthritis to MS. And yet, insurance companies don’t cover the injections.
With so much uncertainty regarding both the current and future state of stem cell treatments, one wonders how the industry will fare over the next 5 to 10 years. But even short-term questions abound. For example, where will stem cell therapy be a year from now?
No one really knows for sure. However, there is no shortage of projections. Below are just a few things people are saying about the future of stem cell therapy.
Costs Will Keep Rising
An unscientific poll among patients conducted earlier this year (2018) shows that the largest percentage of people receiving stem cell treatments pay between $2,500 and $4,999 per treatment. The next largest group pay between $5,000 and $7,500. Costs go up from there.
It is quite likely that the cost of stem cell injections will continue to climb through 2019 and beyond. As long as demand is there and insurance companies don’t cover the procedures, stem cell injections will probably keep getting more expensive.
Industry Growth Will Continue
The regenerative medicine industry is already worth billions of dollars. There’s no reason to believe growth will be stifled over the next 12 months. Apex Biologix, a company that specializes in PRP kits and regenerative medicine equipment and supplies, explains that there is plenty of room for expansion, both in the clinical setting and for companies like theirs.
Insurance Plans Will Continue Refusing Coverage
There is hope within the stem cell industry that insurance companies will eventually cover the most routine procedures. But that’s not likely to happen in 2019. A year from now, people will still be paying for their stem cell injections out-of-pocket. What’s the problem? Stem cell therapy is still considered experimental.
Because stem cell clinics that utilize minimally manipulated, autologous stem cell material don’t need further FDA regulation, stem cell procedures are often labeled as being unapproved. And anything that is unapproved by the FDA is automatically experimental in the eyes of insurance companies. That’s not going to change anytime soon.
Research Will Continue
Stem cells show a lot of promise for treating numerous injuries and diseases. As such, research is alive and well across the world. Industry experts expect that research to continue for years to come. And why not? Stem cells are the building blocks of human biology. It makes no sense to ignore them now that we know their potential.
Regulations Will Be Stricter
It’s no secret that the FDA intends to regulate stem cell industry in America more strictly. And where the FDA goes, so goes the industry. Many experts expect that new, more strict regulations will be in place by the end of 2019.
The groundwork for such restrictions has already been laid. A few new regulations have already been introduced within the past year, and the FDA is now in the process of enforcing them. The stage has been set for further regulation over the next 12 months.
Time will tell what the stem cell industry looks like a year from now. But all indications suggest that things will continue pushing forward at a fairly fast clip. Stem cell and other regenerative medicine therapies are evolving along with technology and research. That evolution will lead to some interesting results in the coming months and years. It could be quite a ride.