On Election Day, Arizona became the fifth state to adopt a “Right to Try” law that permits terminally ill patients the right to try experimental drugs without needing to seek approval of the FDA. Arizona, the first state to pass the law via voter initiative, joins Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan and Missouri as a Right to Try state. Arizona voters passed the initiative with nearly 80 percent voting “yes.”
Idaho should follow the lead of these five states and do whatever it can to protect terminally ill patients. Many of the sickest patients will not qualify for clinical trials of new drugs and their only hope is to request expanded access from the FDA. Unfortunately, the current process for receiving expanded access is cumbersome and complicated leading to delays, possible denials and causing many people to not even apply.
According to the Goldwater Institute:
Under Right to Try, a terminal patient would be able to access an investigational drug when all the following conditions are satisfied.
1. The patient has a terminal disease and has exhausted all conventional treatment options.
2. The patient’s doctor has advised the use of an investigational drug.
3. The investigational drug has successfully completed basic safety testing.
4. The patient has provided informed consent.
5. The company sponsoring the development of the investigational drug is willing to make it available to the patient.
This approach provides important protections to both patients and pharmaceutical companies. Furthermore, the law does not force insurance companies to cover the cost of investigational drugs. All the law does is place serious medical decisions in the hands of doctors and patients, rather than federal bureaucrats.
There is no reason why Idaho should not follow a similar approach and give the sickest among us a chance to pursue potentially life-saving drugs. Everybody deserves a right to try.
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