Washington, D.C.—Today the U.S. Senate approved Right to Try, a law that gives new hope to patients facing life-threatening illnesses. Under the legislation, those suffering from terminal illnesses can gain access to medication still being tested in clinical trials, while offering protection to doctors and pharmaceutical companies who come to patients’ aid.
The Senate passed the legislation, S. 204, the Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn and Matt Bellina Right to Try Act of 2017, by unanimous consent. Right to Try has been adopted with strong bipartisan support in 37 states, and the Senate-passed bill prevents federal agencies from interfering with the implementation of the state-passed laws.
“There’s no more fundamental freedom than the right to save your own life,” said Victor Riches, president & CEO of the Goldwater Institute. “Right to Try guarantees that freedom by ensuring that patients, along with their doctors, are in control of the treatments they receive when facing a terminal diagnosis. Right to Try will open new paths to treatments for many patients who are currently out of options.”
Right to Try was first enacted in Colorado in 2014. Three years later, Right to Try is law in: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The Goldwater Institute crafted the policy upon which all 37 state Right to Try laws are based and has been leading the national effort to pass the laws in the states and in Congress.
Right to Try is saving lives already. In Texas alone, Dr. Ebrahim Delpassand has helped nearly 100 patients under his state law, providing a treatment that has completed clinical trials but is not yet fully approved for advanced stage neuroendocrine cancer. Many of these patients were told they had only months to live but are still alive a year later, thanks to Right to Try.
The Senate bill was sponsored by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and was cosponsored by an additional 45 Senators. The House legislation also has bipartisan sponsorship and is expected to pass. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have expressed support for Right to Try. Then-Governor Pence signed Right to Try into law in Indiana and has invited Right to Try advocates to meet with him in the White House.
In addition to the dozens of newspapers that have endorsed Right to Try, including USA Today and Wall Street Journal, yesterday 18 patient advocacy groups endorsed Right to Try in a letter to Senators.
About the Goldwater Institute
The Goldwater Institute drives results by working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and strengthen the freedom guaranteed to all Americans in the constitutions of the United States and all 50 states. With the blessing of its namesake, the Goldwater Institute opened in 1988. Its early years focused on defending liberty in Barry Goldwater’s home state of Arizona. Today, the Goldwater Institute is a national leader for constitutionally limited government respected by the left and right for its adherence to principle and real world impact. No less a liberal icon than the New York Times calls the Goldwater Institute a “watchdog for conservative ideals” that plays an “outsize role” in American political life.