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Michigan’s Costly Biotech Policy


In addition to a stumbling automotive industry, Michigan is home to some of the most restrictive regulations on stem cell research in the country. A new report from the Michigan Prospect calculates the scale of the negative economic impact of a hobbled biotech industry on the state.

Allen C. Goodman and Sam Berger explain the policy landscape in stark terms:

Michigan law effectively bans critical components of embryonic stem cell research that leading scientists believe can result in cures and treatments. Leftover embryos from fertility clinics cannot be used for medical research, although those leftover embryos can be thrown away as medical waste. While 45 other states allow the research that is illegal in Michigan and many also provide funding for that research, Michigan – along with Arkansas, Louisiana, South Dakota and North Dakota – severely restricts this important work.

They approach the economic benefits of stem cell research from several angles, arriving with these estimates for how stem cell research can grow the Michigan economy:

  • 770,000: the potential number of patients who could benefit from this research, including patients suffering from diabetes, Alzheimer’s, spinal injuries, and ALS
  • $80 million: cost savings on treatments for these conditions and other conditions, including stroke conditions and heart disease
  • $38,500,000: potential Medicaid cost savings per year with a reduction of caregiving expenses of 0.5 percent
  • 797: new and induced jobs in biotech with a commensurate payroll increase of $51 million per year
  • $28 million: value of productivity gains per year from a 2 percent reduction in absenteeism through improved health and a reduction in death from treatable diseases

Get the full report .pdf here. The distribution of inequitable stem cell policies means that some states will see their biotech industries fall behind, and that’s all the more reason for the next administration to adopted a new national policy and that enables stem cell research to benefit all citizens, directly through treatments, or by way of a growing regional economy.


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