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First-Ever Right to Try Program Offers New Hope for Brain Cancer Patients

October 3, 2019

October 3, 2019

Americans suffering from a deadly form of brain cancer have new hope today, thanks to a first-of-its-kind treatment program offered under the federal Right to Try law—a policy developed by the Goldwater Institute.

An anti-cancer vaccine known as Gliovac (ERC1671) will be made available to patients suffering from glioblastoma, a rare and fatal cancer with a devastating five-year survival rate of about five percent. Since the treatment has not received final approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), patients ordinarily would not be able to access the potentially lifesaving vaccine without being selected for a clinical trial or making a request through the FDA’s burdensome and time-consuming “compassionate use” program. However, thanks to the recently enacted federal Right to Try law, Epitopoietic Research Corporation (ERC), the vaccine’s manufacturer, has announced a program offering Gliovac to patients who meet certain eligibility requirements.

“ERC’s decision to treat glioblastoma patients under Right to Try is fantastic news for those fighting this deadly form of cancer,” said Victor Riches, president and CEO of the Goldwater Institute . “Patients are running out of options, and having access to this anti-cancer vaccine provides them new hope. That’s exactly why advocates fought so hard to make Right to Try federal law.

The Right to Try movement is based on the belief that no patient facing a terminal illness should have to beg the federal government for permission to save their own life. Developed by the Goldwater Institute, Right to Try works in tandem with the current FDA approval process. A patient facing a life-threatening disease who has exhausted FDA-approved options may seek the treatment from the manufacturer without having to first navigate bureaucratic and time-consuming federal red tape. The Right to Try law, which was signed into federal law in May 2018, puts the most personal healthcare decisions back in the rightful hands of patients and their families, without having to wait on government consent.

“This is an important first for Americans suffering from terminal illness, but there’s more work to do,” Riches said. “The Goldwater Institute is looking forward to the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary’s promulgation of reporting rules as required under the Right to Try law, so that companies like ERC that are moving forward with treatment under the law have clear direction.”

Read analysis of this news by Goldwater Institute Director of Healthcare Policy Naomi Lopez Bauman here. 



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