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Illinois Becomes 23rd State to Allow Terminally Ill to Access Investigational Medications

August 6, 2015

Springfield, Ill.—Governor Bruce Rauner has signed House Bill 1335, the Illinois Right To Try Act, into law. The Right To Try Act allows doctors to prescribe treatments to the terminally ill that are being used in clinical trials but have not yet been fully approved by the FDA. Right To Try provides access to potentially life-saving treatments years before patients would normally be able to access them.

The Right To Try Act passed both the House and Senate with near unanimous, overwhelming bipartisan support. The Right To Try Act, was sponsored by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers led by Rep. Greg Harris, a Democrat representing Chicago, and Sen. Michael Connelly, a Republican representing Wheaton.

“To say that Right To Try is sweeping the country may be an understatement. In just 15 months the law has been adopted by 23 states,” said Darcy Olsen, the president of the Goldwater Institute, the organization leading the national, bipartisan Right To Try effort. “Americans are united in the belief that when your mortality hangs in the balance, you should have the right to try to save your life.”

Right To Try laws are already in place in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming. The law has been introduced in 13 additional states this year.

“People fighting for their lives shouldn’t have to fight the government too. Any person who wants to access a promising investigational treatment when they have exhausted standard treatment protocols should have the right to do that,” said Olsen.

The New York Times and Wall Street Journal have both reported that the Right To Try movement is prompting long overdue changes 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.

“This law will give terminally ill people in Illinois hope when they need it most,” said Olsen.

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

The Goldwater Institute has teamed up with an Indiana mother on a petition in support of Right To Try that has gathered more than 100,000 signatures.

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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