Wednesday, March 12, 2014
The outside counsel for the $3 billion California stem cell agency has revisited actions taken by the agency in the wake of the Institute of Medicine report that recommended sweeping changes to deal with conflicts of interest at the agency, its controversial dual executive arrangement and the fundamental nature of its governing board.
James Harrison of Remcho Johansen and Purcell of San Leandro, Ca., prepared a 21-page report, including attachments, as part of an earlier plan to examine actions by the board in response to the blue ribbon report by the IOM, which cost CIRM $700,000.
The CIRM board greeted the IOM study in 2012 with something less than enthusiasm(see here and here), but has taken some steps to deal at least partially with issues raised by the IOM. Last week the California Stem Cell Report asked the chairman of the study, Harold Shapiro, former president of Princeton University, for his take on Harrison's recap. Shapiro has not responded.
Harrison repeated the agency's contention that only perceived conflicts of interest exist at the agency. And he said the board's alteration of voting procedures appear “to have largely addressed the perception of conflict of interest.” However, most of the document was merely descriptive as opposed to an evaluation of the pros and cons of each agency response. Nor did he compare the CIRM's responses to each of the recommendations of the IOM.