Secrecy Plagues California Institute for Regenerative Medicine

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, March 9, 2005

At the joint legislative hearing following last fall’s passage of Proposition 71, the interim president testified about the start-up of the newly created California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.  Zach Hall defended the practice of closing some decision-making processes from public view, particularly for applicants seeking grant money.

“People put out their best ideas in these grants, they may detail unpublished information that they have that would give their competitors advantage, so this absolutely has to be done in confidence.”

Criticisms over secrecy and conflicts of interest have plagued the new agency and its citizen’s oversight committee in their first few months of existence.  The legislative hearing was also set to address medical and ethical standards for research.  Senator Deborah Ortiz, says at least two more public hearings will follow to check progress.