Wednesday, August 05, 2009

CIRM's position on bio-similars

Senator Feinstein included a copy of a letter from CIRM to Feinstein within her letter to Senators Kennedy and Dodd on legislation on bio-similars (generic biologics in Affordable Choices Act). Within the CIRM letter, there is a portion attacking a report of the FTC which portion includes the words:

According to the FTC, corporations typically fund incremental innovation to support pre-existing core business.

That, of course, could be used to suggest why the experience of David Kappos at IBM might not be the ideal choice of background for USPTO director.

CIRM did not deny the truth of the statement by the FTC, but noted it did not apply to stem cell companies. That would lead to another argument against Kappos.

CIRM employs the Podesta lobbying group.

***Comment to stemcellreport [6 Aug] on its post
CIRM Dwarfed in Biotech Patent Fight

Although the post above properly notes that CIRM is a bit player in this debate, the post does not fully develop that CIRM is aligned on the side of big pharma, and against the side of consumer interest groups, such as Consumers Union. Further, although the AP article by Alan Fram notes the big pharma advantage "due in part to a lopsided edge in lobbying resources," the CIRM letter to Feinstein omitted mention of the lopsided edge in lobbying resources of Proposition 71 advocates in the vote in California. The post also failed to mention the irony in the alignment of a Democrat-based lobbying group (Podesta) with big pharma, while the generic lobbying effort is headed by a Republican lobbyist (Katie Huffard ). The Fram article mentioned Billy Tauzin (a once "blue dog" Democrat who became a Republican), but did not mention his role the passage of the Medicare Drug Prescription Bill, highlighted in a "60 Minutes" piece on April 1, 2007. The final irony is that CIRM, with its poorly formulated policy on intellectual property, is unlikely to benefit from this lobbying position, to the extent as California companies such as iZumi. One might say CIRM aimed, but shot the California taxpayer in the foot.

Article by Alan Fram titled THE INFLUENCE GAME: Biotech drug lobbying war

As an aside, pro-stem cell forces outspent the antis in the New Jersey vote, but lost anyway.

***Of Tauzin and the Medicare Drug Prescription Bill, contemplate remarks by the Marcia Angell, the former editor of NEJM:

The prescription drug benefit was nothing but a bonanza for the pharmaceutical industry. I would change that. I would also adjust the fee schedule, which preferentially rewards highly paid specialists for very expensive tests and procedures. For the system to work, it would have to be a nonprofit delivery system.

Angell spoke of current health insurance debate:

If you keep health care in the hands of for-profit companies, you can do one or the other — increase coverage by putting more money into the system, or control costs by decreasing coverage. But you cannot do both unless you change the basic structure of the system.

Of mandated coverage in Massachusetts:

In Massachusetts [which enacted an individual mandate in 2006], there is no real price regulation. Essentially what the mandate does is say to people, you will go into this treacherous market and buy insurance at whatever price the companies choose to charge. In effect, it’s delivering a captive market to these profit-oriented companies.


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