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Mississippi Lawmakers Send Right To Try Act to Governor Bryant

March 20, 2015

Jackson—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 both the state House and Senate and is on its way to Governor Phil Bryant. Governor Bryant has five days to sign or veto the bill once it reaches his desk.

Three Right To Try bills were introduced in Mississippi this session; SB 2485 is the bill that made it across the finish line with bipartisan support. Senator Josh Harkins and Representative Chris Brown led the effort with a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers.

Right To Try laws are already in place in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Twenty-five additional states are considering the law this year. Lawmakers in Indiana, Virginia and Utah have also sent similar bills to their governors for approval. The national bipartisan effort to give terminally ill Americans access to investigational medications is being led by the Goldwater Institute. The Mississippi Center for Public Policy worked with the Goldwater Institute to bring Right To Try to Mississippi.

“Americans shouldn’t have to ask the government for permission to try to save their own lives,” said Darcy Olsen, president of the Goldwater Institute. “They should be able to work with their doctors directly to decide what potentially life-saving treatments they are willing to try. This is exactly what Right To Try does.”

The FDA has a process that allows people to ask permission to access investigational medicines. While many people ultimately receive FDA permission, there are dozens of documented cases of people dying while waiting on their approval. The FDA recently announced plans to shorten the application form. “A simpler form is window dressing on an archaic and inhumane system that prevents the vast majority of Americans with terminal illnesses from accessing promising investigational treatments. Patients must still beg the federal government for permission to try to save their own lives—it’s just a shorter form,” said Olsen.

The New York Times and Wall Street Journal both editorialized 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.




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