Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Text of Comments from John M. Simpson of Consumer Watchdog

Here is the full text of the remarks from John M. Simpson made by email for the overview piece today on the California stem cell agency.
"It’s a slick (annual) report that allows CIRM to put its best forward as it its leadership tries to make a case for future funding, quite possibly another bond issue.  I’d be interested in knowing how much the annual report cost to produce and how many copies have been printed.
"CIRM’s fundamental problem is that supporters of Prop. 71 wildly oversold what passage of the measure would deliver.  Voters were led to believe that miraculous cures were just around the corner if only the proposition passed.
"CIRM-funded research has made important contributions to science, but has yet to deliver what voters were promised.
"Agency management has improved under the Thomas-Mills regime and the most blatant conflicts of interest were mitigated after the scathing Institute of Medicine report.
"The CIRM annual report cites the number of  'inventions' CIRM has funded — more than 180.  What share of royalties have taxpayers received as a result? Anticipated revenue from CIRM-funded inventions was a big selling point for Prop. 71.
"No doubt CIRM-funded research has made some important contributions to scientific knowledge. The results, however, in no way justify another bond issue to fund the agency.
"If CIRM continues after the current funds run out, it should be financed like any other state agency— out of the states’s operating budget approved by the Legislature on annual basis. CIRM’s operating budget could also be augmented by private contributions."

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