Contact: Charles Siler
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: STATE LAWMAKERS IN THREE STATES VOTE UNANIMOUSLY TO ALLOW TERMINAL PATIENTS EXPERIMENTAL DRUG ACCESS, CUT FDA RED TAPE
Right to Try bills give hope to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who die of terminal illnesses each year
State representatives in Colorado, Louisiana and Missouri all voted unanimously this week to approve an unprecedented measure to empower terminally ill patients to access experimental drugs that could save their lives but have not yet been approved for market by the FDA.
More than 500,000 Americans died last year of cancer alone, and thousands more of other terminal illness. Promising treatments exist that could save their lives, but it takes a decade and a billion dollars for a drug to reach full FDA approval. Only 3% of the sickest Americans qualify for clinical trials, and the FDA protocol for approving drugs has not changed in fifty years.
If passed, Right to Try would enable terminally ill patients under the care of licensed doctors to access experimental drugs that have passed basic safety tests but whose efficacy is not yet conclusive. Missouri representatives have passed the measure 139-0, and representatives in Louisiana and Colorado this week with votes of 96-0 and 65-0 respectively. That’s 300-0 in less than a week!
In Arizona, lawmakers are poised to send Right to Try for voter approval on the November ballot.
“This is about saving lives,” said Darcy Olsen, President and CEO of the Goldwater Institute, which designed the Right to Try act and is working with lawmakers throughout the country to pass the reform. “Americans know that when their mortality is hanging in the balance, they deserve the right to try these potentially life-saving drugs.”
Mikaela Knapp, 25, and her husband Keith aren't your typical newlyweds. Instead of enjoying their new lives together, they are fighting around the clock to get Mikaela access to an experimental drug, an anti-PD1, to treat her aggressive kidney cancer. Instead of focusing on her treatment, they've been forced to focus on coordinating a national public relations campaign. Every time Keith leaves to do a TV interview or meet with a company or government official, it could be the last time he sees Mikaela. Right to Try would give them the access they want while allowing them to focus on their treatment and enable them to stay together during a critical time in both their lives.
If approved fully by state legislatures this spring, Right to Try could become law in just a matter of weeks or months. Missouri has added an “Emergency Clause” to their bill, which would make it law the moment it is signed by the governor. Lawmakers in Massachusetts, California, New Jersey and others have expressed interest in pushing the Right to Try in their states.
“When people are dying every day and it’s taking decades to get innovative treatments into their hands, something needs to be done,” said Right to Try co-sponsor Rep. Joann Ginal (D-CO). “Cancer doesn’t kill Republicans or Democrats, it kills our mothers and sons. Right to Try is a no-brainer.”
To schedule an interview please contact Charles Siler at the Goldwater Institute at (602) 633-8960 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Goldwater Institute has an in-house VideoLink studio for rapid cable hook-up if needed.