WASHINGTON, D.C. – Legislation authored by Congressmen Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08) to improve access to experimental treatments for patients with terminal diseases or conditions will be considered by the House Wednesday. The Right to Try measure, which garnered bipartisan support previously, will need only a simple majority to pass.
“Each day, families across the country receive the devastating news of a terminal diagnosis. Even with the amazing work done in American medical research and development, for too many, access to these potentially lifesaving treatments will come too late, or not at all. Right to Try opens the opportunity to trial-stage care and establishes the freedom for patients and their doctors to try therapies where the benefits far outweigh the risks. Americans – our constituents – should have every opportunity to fight for their life, or the life of their loved one. Whether it’s a father courageously battling ALS or a brave child living with Duchene Muscular Dystrophy, they deserve the right to try,” said Fitzpatrick. “I’m grateful for the efforts of Congressman Biggs, Senator Johnson and all the advocate who worked together behind the scenes to get to this point. Now it’s time to get Right to Try – in any form - through Congress and signed into law.”
Right to Try does not undo the FDA approval process, but provides a potential lifeline for those with a terminal diagnosis who cannot wait. Physicians must certify that other options are exhausted or not available and all products must have completed FDA Phase I (safety) testing to prevent “snake oil salesmen” and other bad actors. Moreover, the legislation addresses concerns which could prevent its successful utilization by ensuring patients, doctors, and manufacturers do not assume any additional liability under this act. Nearly 40 states, including Pennsylvania, have signed into law their own Right to Try legislation. The federal legislation ensures that the federal government - and the FDA, specifically - does not interfere with state laws.
Advancing this policy has been a long-time priority for Fitzpatrick and Vice President Pence, who signed Indiana’s Right to Try law while serving as governor. It has also been a priority for President Trump, who called for the bill’s passage in his State of the Union Address earlier this year.