‘Right to Try ‘ . . . opportunity for one last chance!

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Trump made good on his State of the Union pledge, signing a new federal law Wednesday known as ‘Right to Try’ — lifting restrictions on terminally ill patients’ access to potentially life-saving treatments that are still being tested in clinical trials.

In January, during his speech to Congress, Trump said: “We also believe that patients with terminal conditions should have access to experimental treatments that could potentially save their lives. It is time for the Congress to give these wonderful Americans the ‘right to try.’ “


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The Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute has spearheaded similar legislation in 40 states, including North Carolina. Victor Riches, president and CEO of the Institute released the following statement:

“Today is a win for patients, ” he said. “Millions of Americans who have been told they are out of options and it’s time to get their affairs in order, now have the opportunity for one last treatment, without having to get permission from the federal government first. Members of Congress came together to put patients first and we’re grateful for their support for this bipartisan, grassroots movement.

Right To Try allows terminally ill Americans to try medicines that have passed Phase 1 of the FDA approval process and remain in clinical trials but are not yet on pharmacy shelves. Right To Try expands access to potentially life-saving treatments years before patients would normally be able to access them

Q: WHY WAS RIGHT TO TRY DEVELOPED?

A: Over 1 million Americans die from a terminal illness every year. Many spend years searching for a potential cure, or struggle in vain to get accepted into a clinical trial. Unfortunately, FDA red tape and government regulations restrict access to promising new treatments, and for those who do get access, it’s often too late.

Q: I HAVE A TERMINAL ILLNESS. WHAT ARE MY NEXT STEPS?

A: You and your doctor should discuss best treatment options for your condition. If those options include a qualifying investigational drug your doctor believes is your best hope, he/she can initiate contact with that drug manufacturer’s compassionate use program director to discuss your options for access.

Q: SOME CRITICS SAY RIGHT TO TRY IS JUST “FEEL GOOD” LEGISLATION THAT WON’T ACTUALLY HELP ANYONE. IS THIS TRUE?

A: No. Right To Try laws give people with terminal illnesses the legal right to use investigational medications years before they might otherwise be available on the market. No one can guarantee that a particular treatment will be effective, but these laws return choice and control over treatment options to where it is most effective — with patients and their doctors.

Q: IF PATIENTS CAN ACCESS INVESTIGATIONAL TREATMENTS BY PARTICIPATING IN CLINICAL RESEARCH TRIALS, WHY DO WE NEED RIGHT TO TRY?

A: Fewer than 3 percent of terminally ill patients gain access to investigational treatments through clinical trials. Right to Try was designed to help the other 97 percent.

Q: THE FDA HAS AN EXPANDED ACCESS PROGRAM THAT ALLOWS PATIENTS QUICKER ACCESS TO INVESTIGATIONAL TREATMENTS. HOW IS RIGHT TO TRY DIFFERENT?

A: While millions of Americans will be diagnosed with or die of terminal illnesses each year, compassionate use exceptions are only granted to about 1,200 patients a year. Many patients run out of time before they can qualify for the exemption or complete the process. Right To Try laws help patients get immediate access to the medical treatments they need before it’s too late.

Q: ARE TREATMENTS AVAILABLE UNDER RIGHT TO TRY SAFE?

A: Yes. The only treatments available under Right To Try laws are those that have already passed the FDA’s basic safety testing and remain within the FDA’s approval process. These are no different from the treatments currently available to the 3 percent of patients who are lucky enough to be accepted into clinical trials.

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