Trump Administration Pushes ‘Right To Try’ Experimental Treatment Bill. Here’s Why That Matters For Sick Kids

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Grace Carr Reporter
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Republican lawmakers introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that seeks to give sick patients the right to try experimental drugs so that they might have a fighting chance at life.

The “Right To Try” bill, unveiled to the House by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael Burgess, intends to give dying patients, including young children, greater access to experimental drugs that the Food and Drug Administration have not yet approved.

This effort intends to increase a patient’s chance of surviving their disease. The bill would apply to “eligible patients who have been diagnosed with a stage of a disease or condition in which there is reasonable likelihood that death will occur within a matter of months, or with another eligible illness, and for other purposes.”

“This updated ‘Right to Try’ bill is the direct result of conversations with our colleagues, the administration, and stakeholders on all sides of the issue,” GOP Reps. Walden of Oregon and Burgess of Texas said in a statement, according to a Saturday press release. “This is a complicated issue with passionate advocates on both sides and it was imperative we got the policy right. After months of thoughtful discussions, we believe this legislation is ready for a vote in the House,” they said.

The bill mandates that drug manufacturers and sponsors notify the FDA when they make an unapproved drug available to a patient, followed by a requirement that any patient using an experimental drug proceed through a rigorous informed consent process about the risks of the drug. The bill includes provisions to protect patients from misbranded or mislabeled drugs. It also protects doctors, sponsors, physicians, drug manufacturers, clinicians and hospitals from liability unless any party displays willful misconduct.

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Sponsors and manufacturers must also report adverse effects if and when they occur, by notifying the FDA. (RELATED: Hawaii House Passes Bill Legalizing Assisted Suicide)

Vice President Mike Pence signed Indiana’s “Right To Try” bill in 2015 while he served as the state governor. President Donald Trump also called for the bill’s passage during his State of the Union address on Jan 30.

Michigan, Missouri, Colorado, Louisiana and Arizona have adopted similar legalization.

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