Consumer Advocates Say “Affordability” Key to Stem Cell Ownership Rules;

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Nurses Join Call For Strengthened Regulations With Role for Attorney General

San Francisco, CA — Proposed regulations governing the ownership of discoveries resulting from Proposition 71-funded stem cell research must be strengthened to allow the California Attorney General to intervene if the drugs or cures are unreasonably priced, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) said today.

The California Nurses Association joined in the call as a stem cell institute committee worked on the institute’s strategic plan, which will be the roadmap outlining how $6 billion in taxpayer money will be spent on stem cell research over the next decade.

Proposition 71 promised to benefit all Californians and that means all Californians must have affordable access to the results of the research they pay for,” said John M. Simpson, FTCR’s Stem Cell Project director. “Companies should be able to make a reasonable profit which is based on the actual development cost and public investment in a drug or therapy. If they charge rip-off prices, then the state’s top cop, the Attorney General, should be able to intervene and end the abuse.” The proposed rules are toothless without this enforcement, said FTCR.

FTCR published a report recommending intellectual property rules for the stem cell institute saying the policies must be based on affordability, accessibility, and accountability. Click here to view the report.

“Nurses are on the frontlines of health care,” said Adrienne Pine of the California Nurses Association (CNA). “They know how important it is that everyone have access to the best medical technology and cures, not just a wealthy few. Access means affordability.”

The stem cell institute’s Intellectual Property Task force will consider public comment on proposed ownership rules in Sacramento on Friday. FTCR warned that biotech interests are pushing to remove public benefit provisions in the regulations. They propose to remove the requirement that 25 percent of any royalties on publicly funded discoveries be paid to the state. Biotech interests also have called to eliminate the research exemption that would allow California researchers free access for research purposes to any Prop 71 discoveries.

“Companies must understand that with public money comes public responsibility,” said Simpson. “Too many biotech firms act like committed socialists when it comes to taxpayers and the government bearing the risk of drug development. But they are greedy capitalists when it’s time to parcel out the profits.”

Proposition 71 provides $6 billion in taxpayer-funded stem cell research and bond financing. The IP regulations being considered on Friday cover grants to universities and other non-profit research institutions.

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:
Our stem cell information page is located at:

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Consumer Watchdog
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