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For All Californians, Consumer Advocate Testifies
San Diego, CA -- Ownership rules being written by the stem cell oversight committee must guarantee reasonable prices for all Californians for any drug or therapy developed with Prop 71 money, a spokesman for the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) testified today.

"Reasonable prices are based on the drug's true cost of development and the public's investment," John M. Simpson, FTCR's Stem Cell Project director, told the stem cell committee's intellectual property task force. "If prices are unreasonable, the California Attorney General must have the right to intervene."

The task force is drafting regulations to govern ownership -- so called intellectual property (IP) -- rules for discoveries made by businesses that get stem cell research funds through Proposition 71. Under Prop 71, $3 billion will be awarded for stem, cell research over the next 10 years. Including bond financing, $6 billion in taxpayer money is at stake.

Simpson was one of six persons who were asked by the by the task force to make formal presentations about intellectual property (IP) rules for profit-making businesses at today's hearing. Regulations for universities and other non-profit research organizations have been approved and are about to be posted for public comment.

Read a copy of FTCR's proposal here.
View slides from his presentation to the taskforce here.

Simpson said the public benefit promises of Proposition 71 will be kept by IP rules based on affordability, accessibility and accountability. Key points in Simpson's testimony:

  • IP rules are the means to keep Prop 71's promise of public benefit.
  • If a patentable discovery results from Prop 71 funds, the state should own the patent. The state should create a patent pool for all its stem cell patents.
  • Despite some venture capitalists referring to it as "free money," Prop 71 stem cell research grants must carry public benefit requirements when they are made.

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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is California's leading non-profit and non-partisan consumer watchdog group. For more information visit us on the web at: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org. Our stem cell information page is located at: http://www.stemcellwatch.org/.