The Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn, and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act of 2017 (called the “Right to Try Act” in short) after being unanimously approved by the United State Senate in August 2017, was passed by the House of Representatives on May 22, 2018. The bill now awaits President Donald. J. Trump’s signature. If the bill becomes law, it will be a big victory for the people of America.
The Right to Try Act is aimed at ensuring that terminally ill patients, their doctors, and pharmaceutical manufacturers are allowed to try investigational treatments, in the absence of alternatives. U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), who serves as the Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and the leading voice for “right to try” in Congress, explained the purpose of this legislation by stating the following:
“In an era of unprecedented medical innovation, we have to do more to ensure that patients facing terminal illnesses have access to potentially life-saving treatments. These patients don’t have the time to wait — often years and years — for the FDA to grant final approval. For countless Americans facing terminal illnesses, now is the time to give them a chance to save their lives — to give them hope.” (Note 1)
In communities across the country, there are many individuals fighting terminal illnesses and hoping for potentially life-saving treatment. These individuals should have a “right to try”. Till date, forty states across the country have passed “right to try” bills. Wisconsin became the 39th state to pass “right to try” law, when Governor Scott Walker signed the legislation back in March 2018. But there is no such law at the federal level.
In Washington, the support for Right to Try Act has been overwhelmingly bipartisan. Both parties, in spite of having differences of opinion on a wide range of policy matters, have found common ground and supported Right to Try Act, leading to its unanimous passage in the Senate, and subsequent passage in the House with 250-169 vote. (Note 2)
Earlier this year, during his first State of the Union address, President Trump endorsed “Right to Try” and said that patients with terminal conditions should have access to experimental treatments that could potentially save their lives. President Trump had a clear message for Congress: “It is time for the Congress to give these wonderful Americans the ‘Right to Try.'” (Note 3)
Research and innovation in the field of medicine, over hundreds of years, and even over the last few decades, have come a long way. Researchers and medical professionals can now address complex health problems with advanced treatment options. For those who are facing terminal conditions, time is a critical factor. The Right to Try Act that was approved by Congress, and when it is signed into law by President Trump, will open new doors for the terminally ill patients. As Senator Ron Johnson said, following the House passage of the bill last week: “Today, Congress restored a little freedom and hope to terminally ill Americans.” (Note 4)