Terminal ill patients in the United States have gained “legal rights” to try unproven treatments that may increase their chances against diseases and other health challenges.
President Donald Trump affixed his signature on the bill last Wednesday and described unhindered access to the listed drugs as a “fundamental freedom” for all. The health law survived scrutiny by the House of Representatives following a party-line vote of 250-169.
The new law aims at enabling ailing citizens to experiment with treatments that were previously disallowed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Though approved by the Senate since August 2017, the so-called Right to Try Act has been a bone of contentment between the major US parties, with Republicans contending it would improve lives whereas their Democratic counterparts claim it might only inspire false hope.
Trump supporters consider the victory another step in the direction.
Speaking on the victory achieved by his administration, President Trump lauded the effort that is sure to help patients diagnosed with life-threatening sicknesses to use unproven medicine. He included talks on the proposed plan during his State of the Union address.
Fox News quoted Ron Johnson, a US Senator and one of the original sponsors of the new health law, as saying that the House vote “restored a little freedom and hope” to the intended beneficiaries. He also expressed joy that terminally ill Americans can gain access investigational medical treatments, especially when there is no existing alternative.
“Federal law now protects the right of dying patients to obtain and use cutting-edge medicines without asking first for government permission,” the Goldwater Institute, a Phoenix-based conservative public policy think tank that played a role in drafting the bill and lobbying for its passage noted through Victor Riches, president of the institute.
“People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure,” President Donald Trump said in January’s State of the Union address. “I want to give them a chance right here at home.”
The newly-passed health law has been criticised by over 100 groups representing patients and research groups which consider the House vote as “unsafe” for most American citizens considering, for example, the law’s approval on the sale of snake oil.
“Jordan and I are grateful to see Right to Try signed into law today,” said Laura McLinn whose 9-year-old son Jordan has been fatally ill with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
“During our more than three-year fight for patients to have this right,” she continued, “Jordan was accepted into a clinical trial for a drug we believe is slowing the progression of his fatal disease.
“We continued to fight for Right to Try for terminally ill patients who aren’t in that ‘lucky 3 percent’ of the patient population who make it into trials.”
Nonetheless, health experts warn that the new law will expose desperate and frail patients vulnerable to more harm without controls from FDA.