The Right to Die Trying to Live


Should dying patients have access to experimental, lifesaving drugs? What if those drugs could kill them? It's a tough question, but yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit made the right decision:

Saying that dying patients have a basic "right of self-preservation,," the court held that drugs that have passed the first phase of FDA review—which determines whether a product is safe—should be made available if they might save someone's life.

The 2 to 1 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned a lower court's ruling. The judges sent the case back to the district court for a full hearing and possibly a trial.

The FDA is being sued by the family of a woman who spent the last years of her life battling for access to experimental cancer drugs before dying at 21. Her father's 2001 Congressional testimony is here.