U.S House Passes Right to Try Law

House joins Senate in supporting law to help terminally ill

Contact: Starlee Coleman, scoleman@goldwaterinstitute.org

Washington, D.C.—Tonight the U.S. House of Representatives passed “Right to Try,” a law that gives new hope to patients facing life-threatening illnesses. Under the legislation, those suffering from terminal illnesses can gain access to medication still being tested in clinical trials, while offering protection to doctors and pharmaceutical companies who come to patients’ aid.
The House passed the legislation, HR 5247, the Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act of 2018, by 267-149, with more than 30 Democrats voting with Republicans to pass the bill. Right to Try has been adopted with strong bipartisan support in 38 states, and unanimously in the U.S. Senate. President Trump called on the House to pass Right to Try in his State of the Union.
“Tonight’s vote is a win for patients. Millions of Americans who have been told they are out of options and it’s time to get their affairs in order, are closer to having the opportunity for one last treatment, without having to get permission from the federal government first,” said Victor Riches, president & CEO of the Goldwater Institute. “Members of Congress put individual patients ahead of partisan politics and special interests and we’re grateful for their support for this bipartisan, grassroots movement powered by real patients in all 50 states.”
Right to Try was first enacted in Colorado in 2014. Four years later, Right to Try is law in: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The Goldwater Institute crafted the policy upon which all 38 state Right to Try laws are based and has been leading the national effort to pass the laws in the states and in Congress.
Right to Try is saving lives already. In Texas alone, Dr. Ebrahim Delpassand helped nearly 100 patients under his state law, providing a treatment that has completed clinical trials but was not yet fully approved for advanced stage neuroendocrine cancer. Many of these patients were told they had only months to live but are still alive a year later, thanks to Right to Try. After a two and a half year wait, that drug recently received full approval by the FDA.
The House effort was led by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).
Because the House and Senate have passed different versions of the law, additional steps will still need to be taken before the legislation makes it to the President’s desk for signature.
In addition to the dozens of newspapers that have endorsed Right to Try, including USA Today and Wall Street Journal, dozens of patient advocacy groups have endorsed Right to Try.
Read more about Right to Try here and follow the movement on Facebook and Twitter.
About the Goldwater Institute
The Goldwater Institute drives results by working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and strengthen the freedom guaranteed to all Americans in the constitutions of the United States and all 50 states. With the blessing of its namesake, the Goldwater Institute opened in 1988. Its early years focused on defending liberty in Barry Goldwater’s home state of Arizona. Today, the Goldwater Institute is a national leader for constitutionally limited government respected by the left and right for its adherence to principle and real world impact. No less a liberal icon than the New York Times calls the Goldwater Institute a “watchdog for conservative ideals” that plays an “outsize role” in American political life.