Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Bee Calls for Tougher Legislation on CIRM

On the eve of the Sacramento meeting of directors of the California stem cell agency, The Sacramento Bee today editorialized for major changes in the way the agency operates.

The Bee said "questions about its internal conflicts and finances remain as urgent as ever."

The Bee continued:
"Given that the state faces a multibillion-dollar budget deficit – and that $3 billion in bonds could be put to better use than lavish executive pay salaries – one might think that lawmakers would be ready for a full revamp of the stem cell agency."
The Bee said recently introduced legislation by Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica and chair of the Senate Health Committee, "doesn't go far enough in ensuring an equitable outcome."

The Bee said,
"What's needed is clear legal authority for future attorneys general to regulate the pricing of stem cell therapies when companies are making excessive profits after benefitting from the state's investment.

"Kuehl's bill doesn't do this. Neither would it eliminate the potential conflicts, and excessive number of board members, that have long kept the institute's oversight committee from operating effectively and credibly. All her bill would require is a study of the institute's governance by the Little Hoover Commission by 2009. Too little, too late.

"Although SB 1565 is better than nothing, it is a far cry from what California taxpayers and patients deserve for the $3 billion – $6 billion, including interest – they have agreed to invest in this field of science."
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