Friday, February 03, 2012

Text of IOM Responses to Questions about Lack of Independent Analysis

Here is the text of questions from the California Stem Cell Report and answers from the Institute of Medicine concerning its plans to secure independent perspectives during the IOM's examination of the California stem cell agency. So far, the IOM has not heard publicly from any independent sources.

Christine Stencel, a spokeswoman for the IOM, responded for the IOM. She first gave an overall statement. Then she answered the specific queries. We have inserted the questions from the California Stem Cell Report into her text  in order to make the Q&A easier to follow.

The IOM's general comment:
"The committee and staff are planning their next info gathering sessions. Specifics of these events haven't all been worked out yet, but one overall point is that the committee believes it is important to hear the full range of perspectives and experiences with CIRM and the committee members are actively pursuing sources of information that will allow them to adequately answer the questions they've been tasked to explore. The study is ongoing and there are still a lot of people and resources to tap and information to learn.

"To your specific questions:"
California Stem Cell Report:
"Does the IOM have plans to talk with or seek statements from such groups as the Little Hoover Commission and the Center for Genetics and Society or state Controller John Chiang?"
IOM response:
"Yes. And the committee is reading all the past reviews of CIRM."
California Stem Cell Report:
"Does the IOM plan to seek comments from grant applicants rejected by CIRM, particularly businesses? If so how many? How would such applicants be selected by the IOM for interviews or comments?"
IOM response:
"Yes, the committee wishes to hear these perspectives and is seeking ways to get them."
California Stem Cell Report:
"Does the IOM plan to do more than passively post forms for comment from others? Does it plan to email those forms, for example, to all CIRM grant recipients and applicants who were rejected? Does it plan to follow up to be sure an adequate response is generated?"
IOM response:
"The IOM is proactively working to get survey responses and encouraging people to respond."
California Stem Cell Report:
"What does the IOM mean by 'industry partners' on its (online) forms for comment?"
IOM response:
"Industry partners means CIRM investigators representing for-profit companies."
California Stem Cell Report:
"Does the IOM plan to examine both public and private complaints about conflicts of interest on the part of CIRM grant reviewers? By private, I mean written complaints to CIRM that the agency retains but has not made public."
IOM response:
"The committee is looking into the grants review process and working to make sure that the members obtain all relevant insights and information. The committee members intend to invite people who can provide a broad range of experiences with and perspectives of CIRM to the upcoming meeting in April."
The California Stem Cell Report later asked the IOM if it wanted to comment on a quote that we were considering using, which said,
"In the eyes of the IOM, scientists who draw funding from CIRM and other sources are 'independent.' They look at these things differently than regular people would."
The IOM responded,
"As to the quote you sent, as a response we would just reiterate that the committee is methodically going about its task and during the course of the study aims to gather the full range of information, experiences, and insights relevant to CIRM from a full range of sources."
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