Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Stem Cell Swindled

Nancy Reagan, Michael J. Fox, Brad Pitt, and the late Christopher Reeve all faces for the what could be the biggest tax payer swindle since the government doled out as much as $1.4 billion in bogus assistance to victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita,tax payers got hoodwinked into paying for such things as football season tickets, a tropical vacation and even a divorce lawyer, congressional hurricane investigators have found.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the subcommittee that will conduct the hearing said that, “This is an assault on the American taxpayer, prosecutors from the federal level down should be looking at prosecuting these crimes and putting the criminals who committed them in jail for a long time.”

Tax payers don’t usually like being ripped off unless of course it is for a good purpose like stem cell research. If it is stem cell research then please take 3 billion dollars that’s what the state of California is being fleeced for.

Did I say fleeced? Are the tax payers of the state of California going to be ripped off? Usually when one speaks of stem cells it is in noble terms as in regenerating damaged nerves for someone like Christopher Reeves to walking again, growing vital organs, and even producing body parts. That’s the misdirection, the reality is the real backers of stem cell research are profiteers who plan to use publicly-funded government research to yield usurious private profits for themselves.

Imagine the government funding a business venture of millions of dollars up front, and then a private citizen receives all the profit with no loan to repay. Venture capitalists are always paid for the moneys that they front. But the moneys that will be fronted by the venture capitalists tax payers of the United States of America will be free and clear to the private patent owners of stem cells.

Flocking to California in hopes of striking gold has been the way of the entrepreneur since at least 1849, no matter how speculative the industry. Modern-day prospectors are again looking to the state with wide eyes, but this time the focus is not on nuggets or dot-coms or movie cameras. Today, stem cell research is the center of attention, with the state betting $3 billion of taxpayer money (funded by bonds) that it will fuel the economy. "Every hundred years there are one or two major turning points in science akin to the discovery of penicillin, and stem cells is one of them,” says Hans Keirstead, head of the Reeve-Irvine Research Center at the University of California at Irvine.

That is what the proposed Senate vote to expand the availability of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research is really all about. It’s about using your tax dollars to make someone extremely rich. And you thought that you were being morally superior to the opponents of government embryonic stem cell research. Wrong!

You’ve been wrong about everything, the so called federal limit on stem cells research is only a limit on federal funding. In other words, there is actually no limit on embryonic stem cell research. Any private researchers many assume the risk of putting up their own money and do research with embryonic cells but why use their own money when they can use tax payer’s moneys? Yes, tax payer money that you, the tax payer, are so willing to give over to the profiteers of stem cell research.

it’s important to remember that there is no ban on embryonic stem cell research. Anyone who wants to do it is free to do so, he or she just can't do it on the public's dollar. If it held the promise that proponents claim, top pharmaceutical companies would be vying for chances to throw their research dollars at it. After all, if it worked as promised they could expect to make huge profits. That they don't see such prospects should tell us something.
As a result, those seeking to continue to spend their time working on embryonic stem cell research have to go looking for other sources of funding, and all that's left for them is the federal treasury. And that's what it's all about. –Michael Reagan,
The Hype behind Stem Cell Research

The perfect win-win situation, private owners of stem cell technology and politicians will use tax payer moneys to profit with and tax payers foot the bill of research and development.
A recent study of the National Academy of Sciences and Engineering proposed a $5 billion quasi-governmental company "to channel federal money into private applied research"; that is, publicly-funded research that will yield private profit. Another report, entitled The Government Role in Civilian Technology: Building a New Alliance, calls for new efforts to extend "the close and longstanding" government-industry relationship that has "helped to establish the commercial biotechnology industry." It recommends a government-funded "Civilian Technology Corporation" to assist U.S. industry to commercialize technology by encouraging "cooperative R&D ventures in pre-commercial areas"; "pre-commercial," to ensure that profit is restricted to private wealth and power. The ventures will be "cooperative," with the public paying the costs up to the point of product development. At that point costs change to gains, and the public hands the enterprise over to private industry, the traditional pattern.--Noam Chomsky, The Pentagon System

The only losers will be tax payers who will fund the original research billions of dollars and be charged again and again after patents are placed on the stem cell research that they have originally funded.
Tax payers will then be sold back the research that they funded a double dipping into tax payer’s pockets. But amazingly a President who will not allow for tax payers to fund this research is the bad guy while those who are engaged in swindling the tax payer have your full support.

Big pharmaceutical companies,which often drive medical research toward the consumer market, are more accustomed to profiting from selling medications, often pills, administered to a wide range of people afflicted with particular symptoms or illnesses. Those companies are not designed to profit from individual, customized treatments.

"Pharmaceutical companies do mostly mass-marketed medicines. If stem cells deliver on their promise they will be more individually administered, and that's a completely different business model," said Harvard Business School professor Debora Spar, who published an article on the business of stem cells in the "New England Journal of Medicine" earlier this year.
This has left the concept of stem cells as a marketable industry in a state of flux. The lifeblood of American capitalism, venture capitalist-funded start-up companies, has yet to pinpoint a way to profit from stem cells' promise. Spar estimated that only 10 private firms in the United States were actively involved in embryonic stem-cell research in 2003.
For venture capitalists, the problem is defining a profitable exit strategy. Biotech start-ups often cash out when they're bought out by large pharmaceutical companies, returning money to their investors. But the hesitancy of big pharmaceutical companies to embrace the science coupled with stem cells' uncertain revenue streams make buyouts an iffy proposition.

Stem cell research will help a lot of people only not always in the ways that you’ve traditionally thought about medical advances helping mankind. These patent- able scientific research finds are the next 1800’s gold rush for the 21 century and taxpayers will be the ones staking the claims for big pharmaceuticals if congress approves government funding of embryonic stem cell research. And with all of the Liberal support for this, when we look back in a few years to see how the many have enriched the few no one will be able to say that it was Bush’s fault!