Frequently Searched

How Right to Try Tore Up the Government Permission Slip & Put Patients First

August 3, 2022

It’s a revolutionary reform born out of an appalling reality: Dying Americans are routinely blocked from potentially lifesaving treatments unless they receive a government permission slip. And that permission can take months, sometimes years—time dying patients do not have.

But thanks to Right to Try—signed into federal law in 2018 after 41 states passed their own versions of the reform—patients are beginning to wake up from this bureaucratic nightmare. Right to Try allows terminally ill Americans to access treatments that have received basic safety approval from the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—and that are being given to patients in ongoing clinical trials—but that have not yet received final government approval for sale.

Right to Try is much more than a new law. It’s a bipartisan, grassroots movement of patients, doctors and activists—all of them fed up with having to navigate a half century of life-threatening regulations. It’s a declaration that in a free country, people should be able to decide for themselves, in consultation with their doctors, whether to try medicines that could prolong or even save their lives. It’s a pronouncement that Americans shouldn’t be forced to travel to other countries to obtain the lifesaving treatments they need because their own government bars them from getting care at home. It’s an acknowledgement of a basic constitutional right—a basic human right: the right to fight for one’s life.

Read the rest of the op-ed at Discourse Magazine. 

Christina Sandefur is the Executive Vice President of the Goldwater Institute.



More on this issue

Donate Now

Help all Americans live freer, happier lives. Join the Goldwater Institute as we defend and strengthen freedom in all 50 states.

Donate Now

Since 1988, the Goldwater Institute has been in the liberty business — defending and promoting freedom, and achieving more than 400 victories in all 50 states. Donate today to help support our mission.

We Protect Your Rights

Our attorneys defend individual rights and protect those who cannot protect themselves.

Need Help? Submit a case.

Get Connected to Goldwater

Sign up for the latest news, event updates, and more.