The act, aimed at helping terminally ill patients access drugs not yet fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration, passes.
Terminally ill patients now have the right to seek drug treatments that remain in clinical trials and have passed Phase 1 of the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process but have not been fully approved by the FDA. Right-to-try laws exist in 38 states, but this federal bill would introduce legislation across the country.
“This is really a law for people who are very sick, who have exhausted all treatment options and who cannot enroll in a clinical trial,” said Starlee Coleman, senior policy adviser at the Goldwater Institute. “For people living in a state where right-to-try is already on the books, they already have the ability today to work with their doctors directly to approach a drug company with a drug in clinical trials and ask for the option to try that drug outside of the clinical trial,” she said. “For people living in the 12 states without a right-to-try law, today they don’t have this option, but if the federal law passes, they will have the option.”
Opponents of the bill argue that it won’t change much but could affect how the FDA safeguards the health of the public. The right-to-try bill would be different from the FDA’s current expanded-access policies, as these require patients to apply for access. President Trump commented, “With the passage of this bill, Americans will be able to seek cures,” adding they will finally be given “the right to try.”