Stem cell research seems to be the mother of all GOP wedge issues -- people like Orin Hatch don't mind whacking a few embryos if their own aging carcasses stand to benefit. But I've been operating under the presumption that the stem cell veto is a big payday for the fundies. Oh, Grasshopper. When will you learn?
As a physician, I would suggest that when the history of big pharma is written, it will not be pretty. One of their major crimes is the constant reworking of old drugs, grabbing a patent on some minor molecular change, and then trumpeting these very minor (and sometimes bad) alterations as the new magic bullet. It's the cheap way to go, and the profitable way to go. Their advertising methods are considered unethical by all (okay all but six people), but that's what they need, to sell these "wonder drugs".You would think by now I would've figured out that whenever BushCo. appears to be paying off the fundies, it's usually a cover for something that stands to benefit big business (conveniently, anti-choice judges happen to be pro-big business, too). I've got a new slogan I like: "Cheney '08: Killing People for Pfizer." The Halliburton thing could use a little retooling.
The result is often that 10 years down the road somebody discovers that these drugs are no better and actually kill people. Meanwhile, big pharma has bagged a billion in profits, and, thanks to the Thugs liability laws, will not have to answer for it. This strategy works best for mass-produced, mass-consumed drugs which do not actually cure anything, but rather create some sort of mental/emotional, if not physical, addiction to the little bottle of pills.
Okay, enough of a rant on that. The point is that big pharma wants its own patents of cheaply researched, not very great drugs, mass-market knockoffs.
Just the opposite of what will come from stem cell therapies.
Now, what do you think happens with public funding of stem cell research labs, with the goal of creating cures for relatively uncommon conditions?
Well, firstly, the patents belong to the universities. Too bad about that. And the markets will not be mass enough for big pharma's taste. Sorry, cancer is not a mass market. hmm bottom line looks pretty bad...
Secondly, if people are actually cured, they will not need all this painkiller stuff, insulin, other kinds of drugs for the symptoms of disease, that is the backbone of big pharma. CURES=NO DISEASE=NO DRUGS NEEDED=NO BIG PHARMA PROFITS=NO BIG PHARMA.
Big pharma had the fantasy of controlling the whole embryo research thing with their own money. Turns out that they forgot about Korea, Great Britain, California....whoops...I think that big pharmas plan has failed. Massive government funding of experienced labs eat big pharma every time.
So now Bush is holding the bag for big pharma's selfish miscalculation.