Wednesday, January 25, 2012

IOM Panel Ends California Visit With No Mainstream Media Coverage

The blue-ribbon Institute of Medicine panel examining the performance of the $3 billion California stem cell agency has quietly concluded its first public hearing in California without so much as a smidgen of daily coverage in the mainstream media.

Instead, the big state news in California yesterday was a lawsuit filed by lawmakers against the state's top fiscal officer to prevent him from cutting their pay again when they fail to pass a balanced budget.

It would have been extremely unlikely, however, to have seen any daily coverage of the IOM session. The mainstream media generally ignores the affairs of the California stem cell agency.

Other than what has appeared on the California Stem Cell Report, the most comprehensive look at the $700,000, IOM examination of CIRM was provided on Tuesday by Marcy Darnovsky of the Center for Genetics and Society, which has followed CIRM, and the ballot measure that created it, since 2004.

Darnovsky brought her readers on the Biopolitical Times up to speed on CIRM matters. She noted that CIRM will need more cash in a few years when its bond funding runs out. She concluded,
"But ballot measure or no ballot measure, CIRM will continue to disperse the public money it controls - another billion and a half dollars. This is a public agency spending increasingly scarce public resources. It is funding a field of research in which we place great hopes for medical and scientific advances. These factors make it all the more crucial that CIRM follow the basics of good governance and public accountability, and eschew the hyperbole and exaggerated promises that have tainted stem cell research for so long."
The California Stem Cell Report emailed a 1,370-word statement to the panel. The study director of the IOM panel said the statement would be placed in the panel's record.

The document provided perspective on the formation of CIRM, the political context in which it operates and discussed some of the potential pitfalls of CIRM's necessary but delicate courting of industry. Suggestions were offered for changes to ease potential conflicts of interest and to open to the public the statements of the economic interests of the grant reviewers who make the de facto decisions on CIRM's funding.

Here is the full statement from the California Stem Cell Report.
CSCR Statement to IOM-CIRM Performance Inquiry

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