Monday, September 25, 2006

Watchdog Group Praises CIRM IP Task Force

The California stem cell agency is sort of like the weather – as they say, everybody complains about it, or so it seems sometimes.

Now comes a note from one of the folks who has done some pretty consistent complaining, but also seems to be able to work with CIRM.

He is John M. Simpson, stem cell project director for the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumers Rights of Santa Monica, Ca.. He said in a letter to Ed Penhoet, chair of the CIRM Intellectual Property Task Force:
"The IP Task Force, under your chairmanship and with the stellar staff support of Mary Maxon and Scott Tocher, has so far exemplified a perfect model of soliciting and considering input from all stakeholders."
The impetus for Simpson's remark was what he called a "disturbing suggestion from some biotech industry representatives that the Task Force's process was other than transparent, orderly and consistent."

He referred to a Sept. 15 letter.from the California Healthcare Institute concerning IP policies for businesses. Written by David Gollaher, president of the biomedical industry group, the letter said that the organization "remains concerned" particularly about the process through which the Oversight Committee and the Task Force have "addressed or failed to address substantial concerns" of the CHI.

Gollaher said he was "especially dismayed by the apparent disregard" of some CHI comments concerning access to CIRM-financed therapies by the uninsured and public agencies. He also expressed concern about the process involving "right to practice" language.
"We would have expected any decision-making process...to have included input from all interested stakeholders. This, unfortunately, was not the case. In the future, CHI urges the ICOC to ensure its processes are transparent, orderly and consistent."
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