What is ‘Right to Try’? A look at the drug law Trump supports

President Donald Trump urged Congress to pass “Right to Try” for terminally ill patients during his State of the Union address, and on Tuesday lawmakers did just that. The act, which cleared the Senate nine months ago, passed in the House with 250-169 vote.

“Patients with terminal conditions should have access to experimental treatments that could potentially save their lives,” Trump said back in January. “It is time for the Congress to give these wonderful Americans the ‘Right to Try.'”

The bill was sent to Trump’s desk this week in what many saw as a victory for the administration.

“Big legislation will be signed by me shortly. After many years, RIGHT TO TRY and big changes to DODD FRANK,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday.

The “Right to Try” bill allows terminally ill patients to request access to experimental medicines that have passed Phase 1 of the Food and Drug Administration approval process.

It would authorize patients diagnosed with life-ending illnesses to use unapproved medications — so long as they have undergone early testing on humans and are under continual evaluation. Patients also would have to have tried other treatment options.


In August, the Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent.

“The Senate took a strong stand in support of the millions of Americans and their families suffering from terminal illness,” Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said in a statement following the vote. “Patients with terminal diseases ought to have a right to access treatments that have demonstrated a level of safety and could potentially save their lives.”

So far, “Right to Try” laws have been enacted in 40 states, according to righttotry.org. Supporters are now calling for federal legislation.

“FDA regulations cannot preempt state laws that preserve constitutionally protected rights, such as the fundamental right to life and medical self-preservation,” the website explained. “The United States Supreme Court has never addressed Right To Try specifically, but it has held that states have great latitude in regulating health and safety, including medical standards, which are primarily and historically a matter of local concern.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

FOX News

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