Congress passes 'right to try' bill

US House passes bill allowing terminally ill patients to try experimental drugs.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Flash 90

The US House on Tuesday in a 250-169 vote approved a bill to allow terminally ill patients to try experimental drugs.

The bill, proposed by Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), is supported by Republicans, Americans for Prosperity and the Goldwater Institute and opposed by many Democrats, also protects those involved in both manufacturing the medications and treating the patients who use them.

The medications in question have passed the first phase of testing, but are waiting for additional tests to determine if they are safe and effective. Patients will need to receive a doctor's recommendation for the treatment, which pharmaceutical companies are not obligated to provide access to.

In January, US President Donald Trump endorsed the bill, emphasizing that people who are terminally ill "should not have to g from country to country to seek a cure."

"I want to give them a chance right here at home," he said then.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already approves 99% of the "compassionate use" requests it receives from doctors for such medications, in a process which takes less than a week.

Critics say the bill puts patients at risk of using dangerous and ineffective medications.

A previous version of the bill was blocked in March by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

In 2001, 21-year-old Abigail Burroughs died after being denied access to a then-experimental medication which was later approved.

At the time, the US Supreme Court declined to rule on the case, and allowed a previous ruling to stand. That ruling, handed down by the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, claimed terminally ill patients have no constitutional right to treatments not yet approved by the FDA.