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Bush’s stem-call ‘compromise’ fails to satisfy either side

Dr. Max Alfert Professor of Biology, U.C. Berkeley
Monday August 20, 2001



The decision announced today by Mr. Bush on stem cell research is exactly the kind of “compromise” one should have expected: Neither fish nor fowl, it won’t satisfy the wishes of either party about this problem but will result in extra-windfall profits for some medical entrepreneurs at the expense of needy patients. 

The limited number of already existing stem cell lines is mostly in private hands under patents; any research findings that may be useful to combat various illnesses will be dispensed according to the rule of supply and demand to those willing and able to pay high prices for their treatment, whatever the market will bear. Mr. Bush has now sweetened the pot by throwing tax moneys at those entrepreneurs (as if they were oil companies?). For a long time the pharmaceutical industry has spent much more money on advertising than on research because it benefited from the results of medical research done through grants given by the Government to researchers at universities and in Government laboratories. The results of their efforts were then often turned over for exploitation to private business companies. This administration is just running true to form... 


Dr. Max Alfert 

Professor of Biology, U.C. Berkeley