Right-to-Try Movement Looks To Grant Terminally Ill Patients Access To Experimental Drugs

| by Ethan Brown
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Despite disapproval from the federal government, a new movement is in the works to provide terminally ill patients with experimental drugs to help search for cures to some of the most deadly and unknown diseases.

Labeled the Right-to-Try movement, the idea is to allow terminally ill patients to have access to experimental drugs by being allowed to participate in clinical trials. In order to reach this level, the patient must have a doctor’s approval and have searched all other options in place of the clinical, Healthline reported.

One organization which has highlighted the importance of creating and approving legislation geared toward the movement is the Goldwater Institute, a well-known conservative think tank. The Institute supports any Right-to-Try legislation, believing it will help all terminally ill patients in the future.

“Our goal is really to help increase access to potentially life-saving drugs,” Kurt Altman, the director of national affairs at the institute, said about the measure.

Altman has been influential in passing legislation throughout the nation on this topic. He worked on bills focusing on supporting the movement, which later became the basis for 19 other states which have passed legislation that supports the Right-to-Try movement.

Most recently, the California state Senate passed The Right to Try Act on June 9, which removes requirements from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a program funded and operated by the federal government, allowing terminally ill patients to receive experimental drugs, Heartland reported.

The California law, created by Republican state Senators Joel Anderson and Jeff Stone, eliminates the federal government’s restrictions on experimental medicine, allowing patients to participate with drugs that have yet to be approved by the FDA.

However, Altman did not guarantee that the movement would be a success and did not want to give false hope to any patients and their loved ones if legislation passes all throughout the nation.

“We have no illusions that this will even save millions or even thousands, but we are certain it will help many,” he said.

Critics of the movement are showcasing the unknown factor of the clinical, in other words, whether the experimental drug will be harmful to the patient or not.

“There’s an idea at that point that they are not going to kill somebody. That they’re relatively safe,” said Dr. Craig Klugman, a bioethicist and anthropologist at DePaul University. “But there may be a lot of side effects and we’ll have no idea what they are.”

Sources: Healthline, Heartland / Photo Credit: e-Magine Art, Flickr Creative Commons