A senior cardiologist in St. John's is warning against spending public money to pay for MS vein therapy for people with multiple sclerosis before it is clear that it works.

Eric Stone said angioplasty is commonly used to widen narrowed blood vessels, but he wants to see scientific proof that it's an effective and safe way to treat MS.

He said any money that's spent on the procedure for MS will have to come from the limited pool of money that's budgeted for health care.

"We try to spend the health-care dollars on things that have proven benefit," said Stone.

"So if we're going to use money and put it into areas where there is no proof of benefit, then the money's going to come from some other place where there may well be treatments that are proven, and then people will wait to have a knee replacement, or wait to have a bypass operation or wait to have whatever procedure they need," he said.

The treatment, proposed by Italian doctor Paolo Zamboni, is based on the theory that blocked neck veins are linked to MS and that using angioplasty to open the veins can restore function to people with the disease.  

Many Canadians with MS have travelled to other countries to receive vein therapy based on Zamboni's technique.

Stone said red flags should go up whenever people rush to have an unproven new therapy.

He warned the treatment might not be effective, or worse, might even be dangerous.