Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Ortiz Calls for More CIRM Accountability

The most influential California state legislator on stem cell issues appeared to agree with much of the criticism of CIRM in today's report card, but stopped short of calling for the resignation of its chairman.

Here is the text of the statement by Sen. Deborah Ortiz, D-Sacramento, chair of the Senate Health Committee:

“It is critical for all of us who supported Proposition 71 and its promise of cures for debilitating and chronic diseases and conditions to have confidence that the grants are awarded fairly and productively, and that California’s $3 billion to $7 billion investment is protected.

“While the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has taken steps toward addressing concerns about public accountability and open government, they are not enough. The CIRM must adopt stronger standards for disclosure of conflicts of interest, including prohibiting the institute’s president from waiving such disclosures at his discretion. CIRM also must narrow its exceptions from open meeting and public records laws to allow greater disclosure about grant applications that are funded or rejected.

“The CIRM also must adopt regulations to protect patients who donate embryos for research, and take strong steps to protect the pocketbooks of Californians by ensuring taxpayers receive a financial return on their investment in stem cell research that is consistent with the wording of the initiative and the promises that were made during the campaign.

“I am committed to reintroducing vetoed legislation to protect women who donate eggs for research by requiring full disclosure and written consent regarding possible adverse health risks associated with the procedures. I also am committed to moving legislation to further open up the deliberations of both the CIRM and the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee, guard against conflicts of interest and ensure Californians receive a fair return on their investment and that medical cures created through this taxpayer-funded research are made available to Californians at affordable prices." Sphere: Related Content

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