May 22, 2018
Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed “Right to Try,” a law that gives new hope to patients facing life-threatening illnesses. Under the legislation, those suffering from terminal illnesses can gain access to medication still being tested in clinical trials, while offering protection to doctors and pharmaceutical companies who come to patients’ aid. The bill will now go to President Trump for his signature.
The House passed the legislation, S. 204, the Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act of 2018, by 250-169, with more than 20 Democrats voting with Republicans to pass the bill. S. 204 passed unanimously in the Senate in August 2017. Right to Try laws have also been adopted with strong bipartisan support in 40 states. President Trump called on the House to pass Right to Try in his State of the Union and has pledged to sign this bill into law.
“Today’s vote is a win for patients. Millions of Americans who have been told they are out of options and it’s time to get their affairs in order, are closer to having the opportunity for one last treatment, without having to get permission from the federal government first,” said Victor Riches, president & CEO of the Goldwater Institute. “Members of Congress came together to put patients first and we’re grateful for their support for this bipartisan, grassroots movement powered by real patients in all 50 states.”
Right to Try was first enacted in Colorado in 2014. Four years later, Right to Try is law in: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The Goldwater Institute crafted the policy upon which all 40 state Right to Try laws are based and has been leading the national effort to pass the laws in the states and in Congress.
Right to Try is saving lives already. In Texas alone, Dr. Ebrahim Delpassand helped more than 150 patients under his state law, providing a treatment that has completed clinical trials but was not yet fully approved for advanced stage neuroendocrine cancer. Many of these patients were told they had only months to live but are still alive a year later, thanks to Right to Try. After a two and a half year wait, that drug recently received full approval by the FDA.
The House effort was led by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). The Senate effort was led by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN).