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Governors to Congress: "Pass Right to Try"

May 22, 2018

May 22, 2018

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote today on the Right to Try bill that passed the U.S. Senate unanimously last fall, and nine governors have a message for them: “We strongly urge you to pass right-to-try legislation. Terminally ill patients and their families deserve nothing less.”

Last summer, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed Right to Try, a Goldwater Institute policy that protects the right of terminally ill patients to try investigational treatments that could save or extend their lives. The U.S. House followed suit earlier this year, passing a different version of the legislation. In a letter sent to congressional leadership over the weekend, the governors call on the two chambers to resolve the differences between the two bills so that it may be sent to the president for his signature.

“Gridlock in Washington remains the only barrier standing between terminally ill patients and the hope they both need and deserve,” the governors wrote. “These patients and their families have no more time to waste.”

The letter was co-signed by Governor Christopher Sununu of New Hampshire, Doug Ducey of Arizona, Edwaard Baza Calvo of Guam, Jeff Colyer of Kansas, Matt Bevin of Kentucky, Phil Bryant of Mississippi, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, and Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota. In calling on Congress to act expeditiously, the governors pointed to the widespread adoption of Right to Try in the states as a model for action:

“Working across party lines, forty states have passed right-to-try legislation, some with unanimous consent of their legislatures. But federal legislation is needed to provide our laws with real thrust. Though our laws remove some state level regulatory burdens, stakeholders can be reluctant to provide access or to administer experimental treatment due to concerns of federal liability. A federal law will ensure the FDA and other federal agencies do not interfere with the implementation of state laws. Federal legislation would also help patients unable to travel to a right-to-try state.”

It’s the patients, the governors write, that cannot wait any longer for Congress to act.

“Tens of thousands of patients facing a terminal diagnosis stand to benefit from right-to-try legislation, as it would expand to them access to experimental treatments that have passed FDA’s safety standards but have not yet met the requisite efficacy standards. Currently, the FDA can take up to 15 years to approve a new drug available to the general public. In many instances, drugs awaiting final approval were proven safe years earlier. Patients who would benefit from federal right-to-try legislation are fighting to save their lives – they don’t have the time to wait for Washington regulators to act.”

You can take action by contacting your Member of Congress and urging them to vote for the Right to Try. Find out more here:



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