February 14, 2019
When President Trump signed Right to Try into law in May 2018, it was an important step in helping terminally ill patients access investigational treatments that might save their lives. Now, stories of patient treatment under the federal Right to Try law are beginning to emerge.
Former U.S. Navy pilot Matt Bellina recently announced via his Facebook page that he had started an investigational cell therapy under federal Right to Try. In the one month that passed since the start of his treatment, he noticed positive developments in his condition, including improved speech and regaining his ability to pull himself to standing. Bellina wrote last week of his ability to access this treatment, “I have been given a gift.”
Goldwater Institute Executive Vice President Christina Sandefur joined the Fox Business program “Varney & Co.” to talk about Right to Try and how it can change the lives of patients like Matt Bellina for the better. Sandefur explained that the FDA process of approving a new treatment takes about 15 years, and, put simply, “dying patients just don’t have that time to wait.” Very few patients—only about 3 percent of the sickest patients—are admitted into clinical trials, she said, and the paperwork that goes into requesting expanded access from the FDA is “insurmountable” for doctors. So prior to the passage of Right to Try, many terminal patients were often left with no options—and no hope.
Matt Bellina’s story shows how Right to Try can be truly life-changing for these patients. Watch Christina Sandefur share more about Bellina and Right to Try on the full “Varney & Co.” segment.