|04-30-2008, 02:06 PM||#1|
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Auburn, AL,USA
Department of Health and Human Service has conflicts
Nearly half the voting members of a Department of Health and Human Services stem cell advisory council have financial conflicts of interest despite the committee's pledge to limit these types of conflicts, according to a survey conducted by a science watchdog group.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest polled the 25 voting members of HHS's Advisory Council on Blood Stem Cell Transplantation (ACBSCT) and found that 11 reported having financial ties to stem cell and umbilical cord blood banking companies, drug makers, and the transplantation industry.
For example, Frederick Appelbaum, who is the head of medical oncology at the University of Washington, has relationships with Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Wyeth, and Genzyme. Another council member, Richard Champlin, is the chairman of the University of Texas in Houston's Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Department, but also serves on the medical advisory board of Stemcyte, an international company that runs cord blood banking programs.
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the HHS official in charge of the ACBSCT said that none of the initial applicants to the council (of which there were over 100) were screened for conflicts of interest even though the council's charter clearly states that, "Any member of the Council who has an employment, governance, or financial affiliation with a donor center, recruitment organization, transplant center, or cord blood bank will be prohibited from participating in any decision that materially affects the donor center, recruitment organization, transplant center, or cord blood bank. The number of members with such affiliations on the Council shall be limited."
The ACBSCT was formed in 2006 to advise HHS policy makers on cord blood donation and stem cell transplantation science and met for the first time this past January. The council is meeting today and tomorrow (Apr 28 and 29) in Rockville, Maryland to discuss cord blood donor recruitment practices, blood bank accreditation, and stem cell transplantation practices.
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