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Ohio Lawmakers Send Right To Try Act to Governor Kasich

December 9, 2016

Columbus, OH—A law giving 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 sent to Governor John Kasich for his signature. This week the State Senate passed the Ohio Right To Try law with unanimous bipartisan support. The law previously passed in the Ohio State House with a 96-1 vote.

The Ohio Right To Try Act, HB 290, was sponsored by State Representatives Robert Sprague and Marlene Anielski. Right To Try allows doctors to prescribe to terminally ill patients medicines being safely used in clinical trials.

Right To Try laws have been already adopted in 32 other states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The law was introduced in another 16 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 have died this year from terminal illnesses for which there are treatments and cures; but it doesn’t have to be that way,” said Darcy Olsen, president and CEO of the Goldwater Institute. “We congratulate Representatives Sprague and Anielski, and all of their colleagues, on their work to get promising treatments in the hands of people who need options today.”

About 40,000 women with breast cancer will hear from their doctor this year that there are 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 saving lives in Europe. 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.

“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.

 

 

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