Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Who Benefits from Stem Cell IP?

One of the critics of the California stem cell agency says the just-released recommendations on intellectual property do not protect the interests of the people of California.

“Californians did not vote for Prop. 71 in order to favor corporate interests at the expense of the state and its taxpayers. Voters were promised during the Prop. 71 campaign that the state would get a share of any profits, and that any successfully developed treatments would benefit all Californians. This report by a stacked committee doesn’t seem to take those promises seriously,” said Marcy Darnovsky, associate executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society in Oakland, CA.

IP issues are not the hottest topic around most dinner tables, but the center identified why they are fundamentally important, especially at this stage.

"They will determine who benefits from our tax dollars. Will pharmaceutical corporations receive big profits, as Californians pay twice – once for the research, and again for the profit margin? Or will the taxpayers and voters have reasonable access to the products that they subsidized?” Darnovsky said.

The committee of the California Council on Science and Technology that prepared the IP recommendations "lacks representation of the public interest or even the state. The leadership of the CIRM shouldn’t accept this report’s recommendations. At a minimum, it must listen to more diverse voices.” said Jesse Reynolds, director of the project on biotechnology accountability at the center.

The center's statement can be found here.

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