It’s a last resort, according to Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison). The Madison Democrat is introducing “Right-to-Try” legislation for individuals who are dying and all other treatments have failed. “It applies only to terminally ill patients — patients who are about to pass away. It permits them to use, you might say, experimental drugs.”
The hope is that it gives the patient one more chance at life. If it doesn’t work, Risser said it’s not a total loss. It could speed up the drug-testing process and help many lives in the future. “And if I were terminally ill and a drug was available, I would certainly be willing to try it,” said the longtime lawmaker. “Maybe it wouldn’t help me but it might help move the drug along and in the future save many lives.”
Patients would know what they were getting into, so Risser said there’s limited liability written into his just-introduced bill.
It takes years for researchers to test new drugs and get FDA approval for general use. Under the legislation, a manufacturer may make an investigational drug, device, or biological product available to an eligible patient.
AUDIO: Risser asks why not? :13
“Patients who are at the end of their rope and are willing to accept the risk should be permitted to jump the lengthy approval process for the sake of survival,” said Representative Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton), who is the Assembly sponsor of the bill.
Though an investigational drug, device, or biological product has not yet been approved for general use by the federal Food and Drug Administration, the bill requires it has successfully completed a phase one clinical trial. The bill prohibits a state official from blocking an eligible patient’s access to an investigational drug, device, or biological product.
Six states already have Right-to-Try laws: Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Missouri, Louisiana, and Michigan. It’s been introduced in 24 other states.