Nysha Recent News

“Right-to-Try” Legislation Passes Senate But Questions on Law's Necessity, Fallout Remain

Washington, D.C. — A “Right to Try” bill, spearheaded by years of emotionally charged effort, was passed by the U.S. Senate in August just before the Congressional recess. 

 

The bill is now awaiting debate by the House. 

 

The bill, dubbed the Trickett Wendler Right to Try Act, would eliminate the FDA from the current process of authorizing usage of experimental drugs on terminally ill patients.

 

But questions on the bill’s necessity remain—primarily the fact that the FDA is largely not the treatment hindrance that advocates say it is.  Going largely unreported are several key facts.

 

For starters, current usage of any “right-to-try” drugs must first be requested by a doctor. 

 

Usage must then be approved by drug manufacturers. 

 

Once those approvals are secured, the FDA’s special “compassionate use” programs approves the drugs’ usage, and within 24 hours in emergency situations.  And about 99 percent of such requests to the FDA are approved.

 

Finally, following that, the review board at any administering hospital must approve the drugs’ usage.

 

What’s also not being reported is that patients must pay out-of-pocket for the oft-times expensive drugs, and that the primary obstacle to “right-to-try” drugs is drug companies, not the FDA.

 

Indeed, one veteran healthcare journalist recently suggested that drug companies both new and startup stand to greatly benefit from Right to Try, because wealthy terminally-ill patients are far likelier to grasp at expensive experimental drugs cost-prohibitive to less-affluent people.

 

What’s more, patients in the 37 states with Right to Try laws may lose hospice coverage or be denied home health care coverage for using experimental drugs.  And in Colorado, Connecticut, Oklahoma, and West Virginia, patients may lose their health insurance.