In a bipartisan effort, the United States Federal government recently passed the “Right to Try” Act. This legislation will allow terminally ill patients in every state expanded access to potentially life-saving medications that are still in clinical trials. The bill also offers protection to doctors and pharmaceutical companies who provide the research treatment.
Colorado became the first state to pass a right to try law in 2014. By the start of 2018, over 35 states had joined them in passing similar legislation. Even with almost 80% of states having these laws, patients were still running into issues gaining access to clinical trials. One of the main reasons was that the FDA was still holding pharmaceutical companies to the same Federal regulations and processes.
Prior to the bill, treatments that had only passed “Phase 1” of the clinical trial process required FDA approval on a per case basis. Now, doctors will be able to work directly with pharmaceutical companies to get their patients potentially life-saving medications as quickly as possible. However, it does not require pharmaceutical companies to provide research medications to the patients who request them.
The hope is that the “Right to Try” Act will encourage expanded participation in clinical research trials, ultimately helping scientists and doctors identify which medications are successful. At any given time, there are hundreds of medications in research that have the potential to save lives, and now they will be easier for patients to obtain. Righttotry.org claims that currently only 3% of terminally ill patients gain access to these investigational treatments through clinical trials.
On their website, you can find examples from across the country where “right to try” treatments are making an impact. In Texas, Dr. Delpassand is one of the leading cancer researchers in the state. He oversees several clinical studies, and to date has treated 78 patients. Some of them were given just months to live, but after receiving the research medication, many are still alive today over a year later.
For more infromation on “Right to Try” laws, please visit www.rightotry.org. Thank you to all of the doctors, researchers, and medical professionals who are working to find cures and treatment for all types of medical conditions.