Sunday, May 19, 2019

Legislation to Regulate 'Snake Oil' Stem Cell Clinics in California Hits Fiscal Speed Bump

California legislation to crack down on "snake oil" stem cell clinics has stalled after a cost of $100,000 was assigned to the measure, which is backed by the state's stem cell research program. 

The bill was sent last week to a "suspense" file, which holds fiscal legislation while lawmakers juggle priorities in the Golden State's yet-to-be-approved, $213 billion budget.

If all goes well, the measure could clear the Assembly Appropriations Committee in the next month or so and be sent to the floor of the Assembly. It would then go to the Senate for more committee hearings and a Senate floor vote.

No public opposition has yet surfaced to the measure (AB617), authored by Assemblyman Kevin Mullen, D-San Mateo. It would not take effect any earlier than 2020.

The bill would require California's Medical Board to move on the clinics, which have proliferated across the country in recent years. California has more than 100, according to the latest estimates. 

The clinics charge thousands of dollars for treatments using substances that they describe as stem cells. However, in virtually all cases, the treatments have not been tested scientifically. Some have led to serious injuries. 

The state Medical board would be required to create a stem cell advisory group by February 2020 that would make recommendations by July 2020 for regulation of the dubious clinics.

The new group would have nine members. Three would be appointed by the California stem cell agency, three by state Medical Board, two by the state osteopathic medical board and one by the state nursing board. 

The group could also recommend emergency regulations that could be adopted by the state Medical Board with a 90 day notice. 

Last week, a committee of directors of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), as the stem cell agency is formally known, endorsed the bill. The full board is expected to ratify that endorsement on Thursday. An analysis prepared by the legislative staff already lists CIRM as a supporter.  Sphere: Related Content

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