Moments ago, President Trump signed the Right To Try bill into law, ensuring greater access to potentially lifesaving measures for terminally ill Americans.

While 38 states have passed their own versions of laws allowing terminally ill patients to access new, experimental, or non-traditional treatments, the new Right to Try law allows these patients to bypass FDA-imposed challenges to receiving drugs which could potentially save their lives.

“It takes between ten and twelve years and a billion dollars to bring a drug to market,” U.S. Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ) told the Heartland Institute’s publication, Health Care News. “This is one of the reasons medications can be so incredibly expensive, and why some of the very rare diseases in need of medications are not getting them developed and brought to market quickly enough.”

For some individuals with terminal illnesses, ten to 12 years is not fast enough. If Right to Try is passed, these patients can bypass the FDA’s multi-tiered approval process to access drugs being tested or developed by pharmaceutical companies. The drugs must have undergone preliminary testing, and the patients seeking them must try all other available treatments first. Liability protections also exist in the bill for drug manufacturers in the case of an adverse effect on a patient who sought their use.

“We don’t know if [the drugs are] effective or not, but we do know they are safe to be used, and they have to be in the FDA pipeline,” Biggs told the Heartland Institute. “[T]hey understand in some ways they are not going to have the benefit of all the testing that goes on, but they want that hope, they want that chance, and they’re informed about it.”

“People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure,” President Donald Trump said in his 2018 State of the Union address. “I want to give them a chance right here at home. It’s time for Congress to give these wonderful, incredible Americans the right to try.”

Jillian earned her bachelors from the University of Texas at Austin's School of Journalism in 2013 and her juris doctor from the SMU Dedman School of Law in 2017. She loves all things Texas.

The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Human Defense Initiative.