Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Critics: Conflict Code Not Up to Snuff

The proposed conflict of interest code for the Oversight Committee of the California stem cell agency Wednesday drew fire from one of its longstanding critics on the grounds divestment was needed -- not disclosure.

The Center for Genetics and Society noted that seven members of the committee have significant business connections with companies connected to stem cell research.

“Managing $3 billion in taxpayer money is an enormous responsibility, and it should not be done by those who have a personal financial stake in how it is used,” said Marcy Darnovsky, associate executive director of the center.

“The proposed conflicts policy sounds good on first reading, but all it really requires is disclosure and self-recusal,” said Jesse Reynolds, the center's program director.

“Because of mutual understandings among board members based on longstanding relationships and financial interests, real oversight would be almost impossible. That’s why we support divestment, not disclosure,” he said.

The center's press release said that Oversight Committee vice-chair Edward Penhoet and members David Baltimore, Tina Nova, Gayle Wilson, Keith Black, John Reed and Brian Henderson have investments and/or leadership positions in companies which are or have been involved in stem cell research.

The center's research can be found
here. Sphere: Related Content

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