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New Hampshire Becomes 30th State to Adopt Right To Try Law for Terminally Ill

June 20, 2016

Concord, NH—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 been signed by Governor Maggie Hassan. This makes New Hampshire the 30th state in two years that has adopted a “Right To Try” law. Right To Try allows doctors to prescribe to terminally ill patients medicines being safely used in clinical trials.

The New Hampshire Right to Try Act was sponsored by a coalition of lawmakers led by Representative Frank Edelblut and it passed the state House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Governor Maggie Hassan released the following statement when she signed the law earlier this week: 

“Every citizen, regardless of circumstance, deserves the opportunity to enjoy the high quality of life we are known for in New Hampshire, and we must do everything that we can to ensure that our terminally ill citizens have ample means to continue sharing in it as well. By allowing eligible terminally ill patients access to investigational drugs, biological products and devices when there are no other U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved treatment options available, House Bill 1138 will increase options for terminally ill patients that can improve and potentially save their lives. This bipartisan bill is a compassionate policy that can make a real difference in people’s lives, and I am proud to sign it into law.”

Right To Try laws are already in place in 29 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, 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.

“Millions of Americans are dying this year from terminal illnesses for which there are treatments and cures. About 40,000 women with breast cancer will hear from their doctor this year that they have no treatment options left. But there are 22 pioneering breast cancer treatments waiting for the FDA’s green light; some of them are already available and safely treating women in Europe,” said Darcy Olsen, president and CEO of the Goldwater Institute.

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.

“We’ve all known someone who has suffered from a terminal illness. This law is common sense. When you are fighting for your life, you shouldn’t have to fight the government too,” 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 Facebookor at

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.



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