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Consumers' Call For Strengthened Regulations With Role for AG Is Urged
Santa Monica, CA -- Proposed regulations governing the ownership of discoveries resulting from Proposition 71-funded stem cell research must be strengthened to allow the California Attorney General to intervene if the drugs or cures are unreasonably priced, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) said today.

The regulations are moving through California's Office of Administrative Law process and are open for public comment until June 19. When finally approved they have the force of law.

"Proposition 71 promised to benefit all Californians and that means all Californians must have affordable access to the results of the research they pay for," said John M. Simpson, FTCR's Stem Cell Project director. "Companies should be able to make a reasonable profit which is based on the actual development cost and public investment in a drug or therapy. If they charge rip-off prices, then the state's top cop, the Attorney General, should be able to intervene and end the abuse." The proposed rules are toothless without this enforcement, said FTCR.

Simpson said people may call on the stem cell committee to make needed improvements and offer official comment on the proposed intellectual property (IP) rules through FTCR's website. The URL is: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/healthcare/StemCellAction .

Proposition 71 provides $6 billion in taxpayer-funded stem cell research and bond financing. The IP regulations just posted for public comment cover grants to universities and other non-profit research institutions. A task force writing ownership rules covering grants to businesses plans its next meeting in July.

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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is California's leading non-profit and non-partisan consumer watchdog group. For more information visit us on the web at: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org -- Our stem cell information page is located at: http://www.stemcellwatch.org