Santa Monica, CA — The Scientific Strategic Plan for California’s stem cell research program is meaningless unless rules governing ownership and control of discoveries funded by the institute ensure affordable access for all Californians to any resulting treatments or cures, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) said today.
“Californians are paying $6 billion for stem cell research,” John M. Simpson, FTCR’s Stem Cell Project Director. “In return for their dollars, they must be guaranteed affordable access to the fruits of the research they have funded.”
The Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee is considering the stem cell institute’s strategic plan at a meeting today at UCLA. Also on the agenda are so-called intellectual property (IP) rules that would govern ownership and control of discoveries resulting from taxpayer-funded stem cell research.
“I’m glad the plan offers a realistic assessment of what taxpayers can expect for their $6 billion over the next decade; that’s a pleasant change from the hype that surrounded Proposition 71,” said Simpson. “However, at the end of the day the best scientific plan is meaningless unless there are guarantees for affordable access to cures and treatments.”
FTCR said the best place to ensure affordability, accessibility and accountability is in the IP rules for grantees, both non-profit institution and companies.
Proposition 71, approved overwhelmingly by the voters in 2004, enacted The California Stem Cell and Cures Act. It created the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to oversee funding $3 billion in stem cell research. Including bond financing, $6 billion of public money is at stake. The first research grants are expected to be made early next year.
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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 www.ConsumerWatchdog.org. Our stem cell information page is located at www.StemCellWatch.org.