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Hawaii Lawmakers Send Right To Try Act to Governor Ige

April 19, 2016

Honolulu, HI—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 passed the state House and Senate with unanimous, bipartisan support. Governor David Ige will now decide to sign or veto the law.

The Hawaii Right To Try Act, SB 2181, was sponsored by Democratic State Senators Josh Green and Will Espero, and State Representative Richard Creagan. Right To Try allows doctors to prescribe to terminally ill patients medicines being safely used in clinical trials.

Right To Try is already law 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.

“The Right to Try is the opposite of the Right to Die. It’s about the right to try to save your life,” said Darcy Olsen, president and CEO of the Goldwater Institute. “Every year a million Americans with terminal diagnoses will hear from their doctor that there are no options left, and it’s time to get their affairs in order. What they really mean is that in their toolbox of approved medicines, there’s nothing left. But the truth is there are more than 500 treatments just for cancer stuck in the FDA’s pipeline right now; many already available in Europe. The Right to Try gives patients access to those medicines.”

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.

“Patients shouldn’t have to beg the federal government for permission to try to save their own lives. If you were on a sinking ship, would you pass on the only available lifeboat because the government hadn’t certified it yet? No, you’d say, put the lifeboat in the water. Right To Try gets the lifeboats in the water,” 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 RightToTry.org.

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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