July 13, 2018
Juneau, AK—Today, Alaska became the 41st state to adopt a Right to Try law since 2014. Governor Bill Walker has signed the Alaska Right to Try Act, a Goldwater Institute measure that protects the right of terminally ill patients to try promising new treatments that are being safely used in clinical trials but are not yet widely available. HB43 garnered widespread bipartisan support, passing unanimously in both houses of the Alaska Legislature.
Since the passage of the first Right to Try bill in Colorado four years ago, Right to Try has been an unprecedented multi-state movement—and that movement drove the federal government to consider and pass Right to Try legislation as well. In late May, President Trump signed S. 204, the Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act into law. This federal Right to Try law passed the U.S. House and Senate with bipartisan majorities. Alaska was the last state to pass its own bill before Right to Try became federal law.
“The signing of Alaska’s Right to Try bill into law is great news for patients who want to try to save their own lives,” Goldwater Institute President and CEO Victor Riches said. “The Right to Try bill signed today passed both houses of the Alaska legislature before federal Right to Try legislation was signed, which reminds us that Right to Try has been a movement driven by states across the country. We are glad that Alaska has become the latest in the long list of states that want to give Americans facing terminal diagnoses access to new treatments.”
“When battling a terminal illness, time is your enemy,” said Representative Jason Grenn, who sponsored Alaska’s Right to Try legislation. “Passing this bill means we are cutting government red tape and giving Alaskan patients, families, and doctors the ability to explore every possible chance of extending life.”
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 state Right to Try laws are based and has been leading the effort to enact Right to Try on the state and federal levels.
Right to Try is saving lives already. In Texas alone, Dr. Ebrahim Delpassand helped nearly 200 patients access a treatment for advanced stage neuroendocrine cancer that had completed clinical trials but was not yet fully approved. Many of these patients were told they had only months to live but are still alive years later, thanks to Right to Try. After a two-and-a-half-year wait, that drug recently received full approval by the FDA.
About the Goldwater Institute
The Goldwater Institute drives results by working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and strengthen the freedom guaranteed to all Americans in the constitutions of the United States and all 50 states. With the blessing of its namesake, the Goldwater Institute opened in 1988. Its early years focused on defending liberty in Barry Goldwater’s home state of Arizona. Today, the Goldwater Institute is a national leader for constitutionally limited government respected by the left and right for its adherence to principle and real world impact. No less a liberal icon than the New York Times calls the Goldwater Institute a “watchdog for conservative ideals” that plays an “outsize role” in American political life.