“Right to Try” Drug Bill Moving Forward

June 06, 2018

President Trump recently signed a bill allowing terminally ill patients access to experimental medical treatments not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to a report from The Hill. The bill has been criticized as potentially providing “false hope” to patients. 


Image: Architect of the Capitol.

The Hill reports that the dubbed “the right to try” bill has been a major priority of Trump and Vice President Pence, as well as congressional Republicans.

The report notes that most Democrats and public health groups oppose the bill, arguing that it could put patients in danger. 

“FDA oversight of access to experimental treatments exists for a reason — it protects patients from potential snake oil salesmen or from experimental treatments that might do more harm than good,” said Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  

Opponents also argue it gives “false hope” to patients, since drug makers aren’t required to give unapproved medicines to patients who ask for them. 

Supporters say it will provide new treatment opportunities for terminally ill patients who have exhausted existing options. 

"While a long time coming, today is a monumental win for patients desperately seeking the ‘right to try’ investigational treatments and therapies," said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and health subcommittee chairman Michael Burgess (R-Texas). 

North Carolina is one of 38 states that has an existing “right to try” law in place, allowing terminally ill patients access to drug treatments that have passed Phase 1 of the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process. The federal bill opens this process to all 50 states.

Read the rest of this story at The Hill.

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