Smart Cells found to have mislead clients into paying to store non-viable samples

An investigation by Sky News found that Smart Cells charged customers to bank their cord blood even if it contained unusably low levels of stem cells:

 

Smart Cells (www.smartcells.com), the UK cord blood bank, was caught in an investigation by Sky News misleading their clients into paying for blood samples that did not contain a usable quantity of stem cells.

Sky put Smart Cells to the test, by sending them an adult blood sample under the pretence that it was freshly collected cord blood.  Smart Cells should have reported back that the sample did not contain anywhere near enough stem cells and given the undercover customer the option to destroy it and pay no further fees.  Instead, Smart Cells reported that they had successfully stored the sample and sent a bill for £1,300.  Despite the cost, had this sample ever been called upon for therapy, it would have been no use at all.

Here’s how Smart Cells’ owner and CEO Shamshad Ahmed attempts to excuse Sky’s findings:

 

Why are we bringing this to your attention?

Such unethical and deceitful behaviour is not the norm in our industry.  In fact, at the same time, we also received samples that had unusually low cells counts which we believe were an evaluation by Sky News and, unlike Smart Cells, we successfully identified that the adult samples provided were not viable and recommended destruction.

Ask for full disclosure of processing data

We will always tell you how many cells your sample contains and whether we consider it to be a pass or failure. Should the sample be deemed to have failed our testing, you will be given the option to destroy the sample and will not be charged for processing, testing or storage if you do.

We are the only company that gives you complete disclosure on the kind of result you can expect to achieve with the processing methods that we use, not just at the point of storage, but also after it has been frozen and then thawed for use, enabling you to take a fully informed decision on how to make the most of your child’s cord blood.

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