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Georgia Becomes 28th State to Adopt Right To Try Law for Terminally Ill

May 4, 2016

Atlanta—A law to give terminally ill patients access to medicines that have passed Phase 1 of the FDA approval process but are not yet on pharmacy shelves has been signed by Governor Nathan Deal. This makes Georgia the 28th state in two years that has adopted a “Right To Try” law. Right To Try allows doctors to prescribe to terminally ill patients medicines being safely used in clinical trials.

The Georgia Right To Try Act was sponsored by a coalition of lawmakers led by Representative Mike Dudgeon and it passed the state House and Senate with unanimous bipartisan support. 

“I am so excited that this important piece of legislation is now the law of the land in Georgia. I believe that people who are terminally ill should have a larger say in their treatment and hopefully now they will; they deserve the right to try,” said Ted Harada, a Georgia man suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease. “In my opinion, Right To Try helps move potential life-saving treatment from the bench to the bedside. I want to thank my friend and state Representative Mike Dudgeon who championed this bill. This is a great day!” 

Right To Try laws are already in place in 27 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The law is under consideration in half a dozen additional states this year. The national bipartisan effort to give terminally ill Americans access to investigational medications is being led by the Goldwater Institute.

“Millions of Americans are dying this year from terminal illnesses for which there are treatments and cures. About 40,000 women with breast cancer will hear from their doctor this year that they have no treatment options left. But there are 22 pioneering breast cancer treatments waiting for the FDA’s green light; some of them are already available in Europe,” said Darcy Olsen, president and CEO of the Goldwater Institute.

The FDA has a process that allows people to ask permission to access investigational medicines, but only approximately 1,000 people a year receive help. Others die while waiting on their approval. More than a year ago the FDA announced plans to shorten the application form, but the shorter form is still not available.

“We’ve all known someone who has suffered from a terminal illness. This law is common sense. When you are fighting for your life, you shouldn’t have to fight the government too,” said Olsen.

The New York Times and Wall Street Journal have both written that the Right To Try movement is prompting long overdue change at the FDA.

Right To Try is limited to patients with a terminal disease that have exhausted all conventional treatment options and cannot enroll in a clinical trial. All medications available under the law must have successfully completed basic safety testing and be part of the FDA’s on-going approval process.         

Follow progress of the national Right To Try movement on Facebook or at 

Read more about the bureaucratic structure of the FDA that keeps promising treatments out of the hands of terminal patients in this Goldwater Institute report, Dead on Arrival.


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.



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