Video: Senate Committee Advances ‘Right to Try’ Bill

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) — On Wednesday, a Senate subcommittee advanced a bill that would help terminally ill patients get access to experimental drugs. The bill advanced unanimously in Wednesday’s subcommittee.

If made a law, the bill allows terminally ill patients to have access to drugs that are not yet approved by the FDA, but have passed phase one of the FDA’s approval process. Phase One is a safety testing phase.

“If they give their consent, an informed consent that they know the consequences, the possible downside and the upside and they have the right to get into this new drug and give them one more chance to survive even longer and they can survive probably until old age,” said Senator Paul Campbell.
Right to Try bills exist in 24 other states across the country. Doctors first must recommend the treatment for their patient, it’s then up to manufacturers whether or not they make the treatment available. The bill protects treating physicians from liability.
“In the bill there is an indication where from pharmaceutical companies, the doctors and the physicians and anybody within the course of treatment are immune from the adverse affects of the investigational new drug,” explained Kurt Altman with Goldwater Institute.
On their website, the FDA says they take no particular position on states different ‘right to try’ bills. The administration states ‘the FDA works with companies to provide patients access to experimental therapies through enrollment clinical trials or through the expanded access provisions described in the FDA’s statute and regulations. The FDA may permit the use of an experimental therapy, but the sponsor ultimately decides whether or not to provide experimental therapies to patients.’
The ‘right to try bill’ now heads to the full health committee sometime in the next 2 weeks. If it advances from there it heads to the full senate.
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