publication date: Mar. 23, 2018
Right to Try edges closer to becoming federal law
Libertarians rejoice, but can it solve compassionate use problems?
By Matthew Bin Han Ong
Few Washington insiders doubt that a bill that allows terminally ill patients to circumvent FDA as they pursue Hail Mary pass therapies will become the law of the land.
Collectively known as the “Right to Try” law, the legislation has been passed by both chambers of Congress. The bills, which bear the names of four patients—Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn, and Matthew Bellina—are the culmination of years of intense lobbying by conservative groups and patient activists.
Supporters of the movement, which started to gain traction in 2013, say that the legislation will speed potentially lifesaving treatments to dying patients by removing bureaucratic FDA red tape.
Meanwhile, critics argue that the bills do not improve access, empower snake oil salesmen, and ultimately erode the patient protections that come with FDA’s expanded access program.
The House of Representatives voted 267-149 to pass its version of the legislation. If enacted, the bill would remove FDA’s mandate to determine whether individual terminally ill patients can receive experimental drugs as a last resort.
The legislation cleared the House March 21, one week after Republicans failed to secure support for the measure through an expedited process that required a two-thirds supermajority. On the second roll call, the bill passed largely along party lines, with the help of 35 Democrats. Two Republicans opposed the bill.
The Senate unanimously passed a similar measure in August 2017, and both chambers are expected to enter conference to iron out differences. The House version requires the … Continue reading Right to Try edges closer to becoming federal law. Libertarians rejoice, but can it solve compassionate use problems?
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