Politics

Democrats Refuse To Pass Bill Designed To Help Terminally-Ill Patients

House Democrats refused to pass Tuesday the Right to Try Act, a bill that would have allowed patients facing life-threatening illnesses to take medicines not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The bill — strongly supported by President Trump, Republicans, and even a few Democrats — fell just seven votes short of the two-thirds majority it needed for passage, at 259 to 140, according to the Washington Examiner. It had passed the Senate last year with unanimous consent.

Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, a proponent of the bill who had introduced the Senate version, expressed his disappointment via Twitter Tuesday evening.

According to the Examiner, right-to-try laws have been passed in 38 states, including Indiana, where then-Governor Mike Pence signed one into law.

But none of them can override the federal law that says all drugs must have FDA approval. The bill defeated on Tuesday would have allowed patients access to medicines that had been determined by the FDA to be safe for people, but not yet approved to be effective.

While the bill’s proponents insist patients who are already terminally ill have nothing to lose by trying experimental drugs, Democrats who voted against the bill were reluctant to undermine the FDA’s role in approving such drugs.

Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone said the bill could allow treatments that “may do more harm than good,” adding that government “must protect patients from bad actors or unsafe treatments that would make their lives worse.”

Several other politicians and media figures used Twitter to slam the Tuesday vote: