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Virginia Lawmakers Send “Right To Try” Bill to Governor Terry McAuliffe

February 25, 2015

Richmond—Today the Virginia Senate unanimously passed HB 1750—the Virginia Right To Try Act—with a 40-0 vote. The Virginia House passed the bill earlier this month with unanimous bipartisan support (98-0). This could make Virginia the sixth state in the country to adopt the Right to Try. Governor Terry McAuliffe has 30 days to approve or veto the law.

Right To Try allows terminally ill Americans to try medicines that have passed Phase 1 of the FDA approval process but are not yet on pharmacy shelves. Right To Try expands access to potentially life-saving treatments years before patients would normally be able to access them.

Last year four states adopted Right To Try laws with overwhelming bipartisan support: Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri. Arizona voters passed the law by ballot in November with 78 percent. Twenty-eight states in addition to Virginia are considering the law this year. Twelve of those states have already passed the law through one chamber of their Legislature since January 1. The national bipartisan effort to give terminally ill Americans access to investigational medications is being led by the Goldwater Institute.

“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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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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