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Washington Implements Right to Try

On May 5, 2017, Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) signed SB 5035, making Washington the 35th Right to Try state. The Right to Try law allows drugs that have passed the initial phase of FDA testing to be tried by various individuals despite the fact the drug has not yet gone through the lengthy process of full approval by the agency.

Those who qualify are terminally ill patients who have exhausted all other alternatives and are in need of something that can give them the care they need. It also eliminates liability for patients, physicians, and pharmaceutical manufacturers who decide to bypass the regulatory process in the hopes of desired medication. For many, this legislation provides hope in dark times as they struggle with terminal medical problems.

There are various individuals who this legislation impacts and whose lives it could improve. One such individual is Diego Morris of Arizona, whose story was influential in getting the legislation passed in Arizona. Diego had been diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, at the age of ten, but the drug he needed, mifamurtide, was not available on the market in the US since it had not been approved by the FDA. As a result, he had to move to Europe where the drug was legal in order to use it. Had Right to Try been enacted, he would have been able to get that medication in the United States.

Another example would be Brian Wolf of Ohio, whose son was diagnosed with a terminal illness known as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which weakens and degenerates his mussels. There is medication that could greatly help his son, but it is tragically delayed by approval from the FDA. This legislation will give people like Diego and Brian’s son the care that they need.

Meanwhile, Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) introduced H.R. 878, the national version of this legislation. If passed, the bill would make Right to Try law applicable in every state,as well as Washington, D.C. and the territories. The bill is a companion piece to S. 204, the Trickett Wendler Right to Try Act, introduced by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). If both bills are able to pass their respective houses of Congress, they would go to President Trump’s desk, who has signaled that he is a supporter of such legislation.

Such a move would be a strong step in the right direction for deregulation and for healthcare freedom. Now individuals will be able to get the medical treatments they need. It is a move that can prolong life and improve an individual’s health. That is why this legislation is important and why it should be supported.