Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kuehl's CIRM Bill Advances on 9-0 Vote

Despite opposition from the California stem cell agency, a state Senate committee Wednesday approved legislation aimed at ensuring that the state receives both an economic and health-related return on its $3 billion stem cell research effort.

CIRM opposed the measure – SB771 – on the grounds that it was premature. However, the Health Committee sent the legislation to the Senate Judiciary Committee on 9-0 vote. If it wins approval there, it will move on to the Senate floor, where it requires a whopping 70 percent vote for approval. That extraordinary requirement was dictated by Prop. 71. It was written into the initiative so that CIRM could operate virtually untouched by normal legislative and gubernatorial controls.

From our perch here in Mexico, we could not connect with the live Webcast of the proceedings. But we have been told that several senators pointed out to CIRM officials that they (the legislators) represent the public interest.

Lawmakers also did not see any barriers to advancing the legislation while CIRM, which is nearly three years old, continues to wrestle with its intellectual property rules, which the bill addresses. They asked CIRM to identify specific problems with the bill instead of arguing that it is premature.

Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, chair of the Health Committee and author of the bill, said she would work with CIRM to develop IP policies that make sense and protect the public interest.

She also pledged to develop methods to handle unique situations such as orphan drugs, for which there may not be as much room to demand revenues and pricing concessions.

As far as we can tell, no other news outlets have published stories on the Health Committee action. Sphere: Related Content

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