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On behalf of FreedomWorks’ activist community, I urge you to contact your senators and strongly encourage them to cosponsor the Trickett Wendler Right to Try Act, S. 204, if they haven’t already. Introduced by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the bill was introduced with 43 co-sponsors and has bipartisan support. The Trickett Wendler Right to Try Act would allow terminally ill patients to have access to potentially lifesaving drugs when no other alternatives exist.
Named after Trickett Wendler, a wife and mother who succumbed to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or “Lou Gehrig's disease,” the bill offers hope to patients and families with no other options. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval process is long and costly, and patients who need access to experimental drugs don’t have time to wait on a federal bureaucracy.
As is the case on so many issues, Congress has failed to keep up with the states – the laboratories of policy innovation. More than 30 states – including Alabama, California, Oregon, and Texas – have passed right to try legislation, and more could be added this year.
The Trickett Wendler Right to Try Act overturns federal law that currently prohibits the production and prescription of potentially lifesaving drugs that have already cleared the initial phase of the FDA’s approval process. It also provides protection for manufacturers and prescribers from liability.
While it’s too late for Trickett Wendler, her family hopes that right to try will give others one last shot at saving their own lives, the lives of family members, and the lives of friends.
“We don't have time and we don't have years to wait,” Wendler’s daughter, Tealyn, recently told a Green Bay-based television station. “It feels like you're stuck, like the government is in charge of your life, and they haven't been in your shoes either.”
Wendler’s shoes aren’t easy to imagine. She described her situation shortly before her death: “It’s gotten really scary, especially at night. Sometimes I'll wake up gasping for air, so I think I’m getting close – so I wanted you to know. I hope my story has a lasting impression that helps others because I pray to God that this disease never happens to them because ALS doesn’t care who you are.”
FreedomWorks urges Congress to honor Trickett Wendler and her family and give hope to Americans who may be running out of options by passing right to try. For these reasons, please contact your senators and ask them to cosponsor the Trickett Wendler Right to Try Act, S. 204.
Adam Brandon, President and CEO, FreedomWorks