FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: COLORADO TO BECOME FIRST IN NATION TO GIVE DYING PATIENTS’ ‘RIGHT TO TRY’ LIFE-SAVING EXPERIMENTAL MEDICINES

Posted on May 15, 2014 | Type: Press Release
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Contact: Charles Siler

(602) 633-8960

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: COLORADO TO BECOME FIRST IN NATION TO GIVE DYING PATIENTS’ ‘RIGHT TO TRY’ LIFE-SAVING EXPERIMENTAL MEDICINES

Right to Try Act will enable terminally ill patients to access life-saving treatments not yet on market, effective immediately

 

Fort, Collins, CO-- Colorado is poised to become the first state in the nation to allow terminally ill patients to access safe experimental medications that could save their lives, even when those medicines are years away from hitting the market. Governor John Hickenlooper (D) is expected to sign the nation’s first Right to Try Act Saturday in a ceremony with patients and advocates at a Fort Collins-area hospital.

 

More than 500,000 Americans die each year of cancer alone, and thousands more of other terminal illnesses. Currently it takes more than a decade and a billion dollars to bring life-saving treatments to market. While there are over 20,000 safe drugs currently winding their way through the Food and Drug Administration approval process, only three percent of the sickest patients are eligible for clinical trials.

 

This means that the vast majority of patients die knowing that there may be a drug in existence that could help them, but they are not allowed to have it.

 

“This is about saving lives,” said Darcy Olsen, President and CEO of the Goldwater Institute, which designed the Right to Try Act. “We will work nationwide until all Americans have the right to try to save their lives.”

 

The Goldwater Institute worked with Colorado state representatives Joann Ginal, PhD, (D), a pharmacologist, and Dr. Janak Joshi (R) to pass the Right to Try Act.

 

Representative Ginal had planned on attending the Saturday’s signing ceremony, but unfortunately the issue she has fought so hard for now touches her personally. Her brother was taken off of all sustaining treatments by his hospice care-givers this week as his body rapidly succumbed to a devastating blood disease. An emerging treatment may have helped him, but he has been excluded from a clinical trial. Rep. Ginal’s background in pharmacology led her to see the importance of Right to Try from the very beginning, but she now sees the great need first-hand.

 

The Institute is currently working with legislators in nearly a dozen states to pass or introduce the Right to Try Act elsewhere. The legislation is close to approval in Louisiana and Missouri, and it has already been sent to the ballot for voter approval in Arizona. The Right to Try Act requires patients to be supervised by their own doctors and applies only to drugs that have already been deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration.

 

 

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To schedule an interview with the Goldwater Institute, please contact Charles Siler at the Goldwater Institute at (602) 633-8960 or csiler@goldwaterinstitute.org. If you are affiliated with a national network, the Goldwater Institute has an in-house VideoLink studio for rapid cable hook-up at no cost. If you are a Denver-based reporter, the Goldwater Institute will be on-site and available for in-person interviews on Friday, May 16 and Saturday, May 17. 

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