Right to Try

S.929 would allow terminally ill patients to use investigational drugs, biological products, or devices (treatments methods that have begun but not completed the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approval process) upon the recommendation of a physician, and after giving informed consent.

The bill also contains a variety of safeguards for all parties involved. Makers of the investigational drugs, biological products, or devices would not be required to provide them to patients, and would be protected from lawsuits arising from the use of their products as long as they make a good faith effort to comply with this law. Health care providers and physicians are protected from retaliation by licensing boards and Medicare certifiers for participating in this law/program. Finally, the heirs of an eligible patient who dies while being treated with investigational drugs, biological products, or devices would not be liable for any outstanding debt related to the treatment.

This is an excellent reform that attempts to clear away bureaucratic red tape that costs lives. The fact that a patient is terminally ill obviously serves as a strong mitigating factor to any concerns about the dangers of a yet unapproved medical treatment. Ultimately, this bill recognizes that is inhumane to prohibit a dying individual the right to attempt to preserve their life by a method to which they consent, and which harms no one else.

(Related H.4542)

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