Crowdfunding site Kickstarter announced yesterday that it was loosening its admissions requirements, but some products — like digital health products — still aren’t welcome.

Kickstarter’s guidelines for admission are much shorter now. In fact most projects don’t even get vetted by humans. But the site still bans health-related products right alongside hate speech, porn, and politics.

Specifically, it bans “Any item claiming to cure, treat, or prevent an illness or condition (whether via a device, app, book, nutritional supplement, or other means).”

Judging by the wording there, it seems like devices or apps that merely “monitor” a given body metric like heart rate or blood sugar would be allowed on Kickstarter, right?

That’s what I asked Kickstarter’s PR rep, who quickly responded with an email saying “apps cannot claim to cure, treat, or prevent an illness or condition.”

Apparently, the guideline language has been enough to keep almost all digital health funding campaigns away from Kickstarter. According to Rock Health numbers, Kickstarter competitor Indiegogo hosts 77 percent of all digital health product campaigns, representing 89 percent of health product crowdfunding.

Kickstarter would not provide comment on the reasons for its aversion to digital health campaigns. But it’s likely the company fears being named in a lawsuit over the use (or misuse) of a health product featured on its site.


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