Thursday, December 13, 2012

Meager Coverage of Yesterday's Bristling IOM-CIRM Meeting

Mainstream news coverage today was skimpy, to put it mildly, of the testy session yesterday involving the governing board of the California stem cell agency and representatives of the prestigious Institute of Medicine(IOM).

Only two pieces appeared, one in the San Diego U-T and another on the web site of the Los Angeles Times. Both discussed what the Michael Hiltzik of the Times column called “overt hostility” on the part of several board members (see yesterday's item here). Bradley Fikes of the San Diego paper said the patient advocates on the board “strongly criticized” the IOM report on the grounds that it “unfairly suggests that they have a conflict of interest.”

One of the recommendations of the IOM is that the agency develop ways to manage personal conflicts of interest dealing with patient advocates and others at the agency.

Fikes wrote,
"'I'm a colon cancer survivor,' said Art Torres, vice chairman of the oversight committee, and a patient advocate designate. 'Does having colon cancer make me biased?'
Jeff Sheehy, another patient advocate designate, protested what he called a 'defenestration' of patient advocates, whose interests often span multiple diseases.”
Ron Leuty of the San Francisco Business Times skipped the IOM matter and wrote about the awarding of $36 million in grants. However, a list of the most popular stories on the Business Times web site, ranked as No. 5 Leuty's story last week on the IOM study, just below an article about Stanford's $111 million concert hall.

Fikes also had a piece on ViaCyte, which is in his area, receiving another $3 million from CIRM.

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