March 17, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has created an unprecedented healthcare crisis in the United States, and as the nation works to handle the outbreak, lawmakers and policymakers should direct their efforts toward expanding the federal Right to Try law. The law, developed by the Goldwater Institute, works in tandem with the current FDA approval process to meet the immediate needs of patients facing life-threatening illness.

For patients who have either become infected, are at high risk, or simply wish to inoculate themselves from the COVID-19 virus, patients, under their physician’s care, should be allowed to access treatments and vaccines prior to government approval, if and when they are made available by manufacturers.

The Right to Try law puts the most personal healthcare decisions back in the rightful hands of patients and their families, without having to wait on government consent. “Thanks to the federal Right to Try law, patients who are battling a terminal illness are now able to pursue potentially lifesaving treatments that would not otherwise be available to them,” said Goldwater Institute President and CEO Victor Riches. “We should extend the same opportunity to all Americans in this unprecedented national crisis.”

The Right to Try movement is based on the belief that no patient facing a terminal illness should have to beg the federal government for permission to save their own life. Forty-one states enacted their own Right to Try laws, and it became the law of the land when federal legislation was signed into in May 2018 with bipartisan support. Right to Try has been helping patients across the country by giving them access to medicines that could prolong or save their lives—and by giving them hope.

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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.

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