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States Seek 'Right To Try' Unproven Drugs On Dying Patients

The so-called "right to try" bill would allow patients with terminal illnesses access to drugs that do not have FDA approval.
Posted at 2:06 PM, May 17, 2014

They're proposed laws supporters say can save lives. Proposals in three states would allow patients with terminal illnesses to use non-FDA approved drugs for treatment.

The Washington Post reports Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is expected to sign the so-called "right to try" bill into law Saturday — making it the first state to do it. Colorado, Missouri and Louisiana's legislatures all have unanimously passed these bills.

KUSA reports the FDA already allows some exceptions for people with terminal illnesses, but it can often take months for them to get the help they need.

Opponents say the bills are dangerous because they give patients access to drugs the FDA hasn't proven are safe. But supporters say the so-called "right to try" bills offer hope for patients who have run out of options. 

"It's incredibly frustrating knowing that there's a treatment out there, but you cannot access it. Knowing there's something that would save your kid's life and just wondering how long it will be."

And there are other states looking into it, one of them being Missouri. Its bill would only allow people with terminal illnesses to use experimental drugs if there were no other options for treatment. (Via KSHB)

KSHB reports it's waiting for Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's signature. So far, he has not commented on the bill. Louisiana also recently passed a similar bill.

Many news outlets have drawn comparisons to the storyline in "Dallas Buyers Club." In the film, a man, portrayed by Matthew McConaughey, fights for an experimental drug without FDA approval to treat his AIDS. (Via Focus Features / "Dallas Buyers Club")

A recent story that got a lot of attention was that of then 7-year-old Josh Hardy. CNN reports both the FDA and a drug company came up with a special exception and gave the cancer survivor an experimental drug his family says saved his life.

In Arizona, a similar measure will be left up to the voters on the November ballot later this year.