Columbus — A law to give terminally ill patients access to medicines that have passed Phase 1 of the FDA approval process but are not yet on pharmacy shelves has been signed by Governor John Kasich. This makes Ohio the 33rd state in less than three years that has adopted a “Right To Try” law. Right To Try allows doctors to prescribe to terminally ill patients medicines being safely used in clinical trials.
HB 290, the Ohio Right To Try Act, passed the state House and Senate with nearly unanimous bipartisan support. The bill was sponsored by bipartisan coalition of lawmakers led by Representative Robert Sprague.
“I am grateful to Governor Kasich and all who supported this legislation, both as a mother of a 9-year-old son living with a terminal illness for which there is no approved treatment, and as founder of the Little Hercules Foundation, an organization that funds research paving the way for approved treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy,” said Kelly Maynard, an Ohio mother of a child with terminal Duchenne muscular dystrophy. “The only thing worse than receiving an earth-shattering diagnosis like Duchenne, is coming to the mind numbing realization that there is no FDA approved treatment to help save your son’s life. When battling a terminal illness, time is your enemy. The Ohio Right to Try bill allows patients, families, and doctors to explore every possible chance of survival.”
“House Bill 290 will ensure that terminally ill patients have an opportunity to access investigational drugs, without only being limited to clinical trials and the federal government’s Expanded Access Program. Clinical trials can be difficult to access, and although improvements have been made, the federal government’s program can take months to gain approval,” said Representative Sprague. “We feel that House Bill 290 can help patients overcome these barriers to care.”
Right To Try laws have been already adopted in 32 other states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The national bipartisan effort to give terminally ill Americans access to investigational medications is being led by the Goldwater Institute.
A Texas doctor released announced that he has treated nearly 80 patients with a drug already available and saving lives in Europe under his state’s Right To Try law. Learn more here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxTyHOypyac&feature=youtu.be.
“Millions of Americans are dying this year from terminal illnesses for which there are treatments and cures. About 40,000 women with breast cancer will hear from their doctor this year that they have no treatment options left. But there are 22 pioneering breast cancer treatments waiting for the FDA’s green light; some of them are already available and saving lives in Europe,” said Darcy Olsen, president and CEO of the Goldwater Institute.
The FDA has a process that allows people to ask permission to access investigational medicines, but only approximately 1,200 people a year receive help. Others die while waiting on their approval.
“We’ve all known someone who has suffered from a terminal illness. This law is common sense. When you are fighting for your life, you shouldn’t have to fight the government too,” said Olsen.
The New York Times and Wall Street Journal have both written that the Right To Try movement is prompting long overdue change at the FDA.
Right To Try is limited to patients with a terminal disease that have exhausted all conventional treatment options and cannot enroll in a clinical trial. All medications available under the law must have successfully completed basic safety testing and be part of the FDA’s on-going approval process.
Follow progress of the national Right To Try movement on Facebook or at RightToTry.org.
Read more about the bureaucratic structure of the FDA that keeps promising treatments out of the hands of terminal patients in this Goldwater Institute report, Dead on Arrival.