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Urges Strengthened Regulations With Role for Attorney General
Santa Monica, CA -- 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.

FTCR today filed formal comments on the regulations being implemented through California's Office of Administrative Law process. These intellectual property (IP) rules for grants to non-profit research institutions are open for public comment until June 19. When finally approved they will 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. "Affordability is the key to access."

"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," Simpson said. "If they charge rip-off prices, then the state's top cop, the Attorney General, should be able to intervene and end the abuse."

Read FTCR's comments.

Simpson noted that as proposed the regulations provide for the stem cell institute the right to intervene in order to meet "to meet requirements for public use and the requirements have not been satisfied by the grantee organization or its licensee."

FTCR believes that implicit in that statement is a requirement for reasonable pricing. "But let's make it explicit and spell it out," he said. "Our proposed language does just that and it provides the necessary teeth by giving enforcement to California Attorney General."

FTCR 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 its 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.