Medicine

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder Signs “Right to Try” Law; a Win for Patient Rights

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Last week, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a "right to try" law that allows terminal patients who have exhausted all other therapies to try drugs not fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Senate Bill 991 and House Bill 5649 create the Right to Try Act in Michigan.

The act allows those suffering from advanced illnesses to receive experimental treatments outside of FDA-approval, if all approved procedures have failed to help the patient. The treatments would only be allowed under a doctor's supervision. Under the law, medical professionals and health care facilities are protected from liability if the experimental treatment does not have a positive result for the patient.

More here.

As I noted recently in a column for The Daily Beast about right-to-try laws, Michigan is the fourth state this year to pass such legislation. A ballot intiative in Arizona puts the matter to a vote on November 4. Among other things, I argue at the Beast that the current Ebola hysteria may help spur the adoption of such laws.

You don't have to be a doctrinaire libertarian—though it helps—to see the value in letting people with nothing left to lose experiment on themselves. They may get a new lease on life. The rest of us get meaningful information that may speed up the development of the next great medical intervention.

Read the whole thing.

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30 responses to “Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder Signs “Right to Try” Law; a Win for Patient Rights

  1. These issues can get tricky when you are talking about children or people who are incapacitated such that they can’t consent. I don’t think families or doctors should be able to run what amounts to medical experiments on children and incapacitated people.

    I cannot understand, however, how anyone could think that adults, especially those facing a terminal illness, shouldn’t be able to try any experimental treatment available so long as they are able to consent and the doctors giving the treatment ensure the person is fully informed when they do so. You really have to be some kind of sick, evil person to deny someone who is denying the chance to try and live.

    1. You don’t control your life earlier, why would you expect to control it at the end ? (Sarcasm) The extreme nature of these situations does expose the premise of who controls your life. Allowing control might make people question other aspects of your life where government controls your choices.

    2. The people who would deny that chance are people who view drug companies as predators, and doctors as dupes who mindlessly obey the pharmaceutical representatives.

      1. Its the same people who claim Normal Borlaug was a villain because big ag companies got rich from his inventions. To those kinds of people it is always other people’s (and always other people never them) duty to die so that no one is tainted with the evils of profit.

        1. I think they might be cool with it if there were no profits involved. After all, profiting off of pain and suffering is just plain immoral. These companies should do all their work for free because that’s the moral thing to do. Since companies can’t work for free, they need profits to survive, all health care should be provided by the government. That way it is moral, since government doesn’t profit. So what if the care would be much worse than it is now. That’s not the point. The point is that profits are immoral.

          1. Brawndo’s got what plants crave…

        2. I’m late, but just have to say, Norman Borlaug was one of the finest people that ever lived. That people recognize Che or Mao or Stalin but Borlaug is a virtual unknown is an indictment of our species.

  2. I don’t think families or doctors should be able to run what amounts to medical experiments on children and incapacitated people.

    Even if not intervening is certain death from the disease?

    1. Maybe. That is why I said the issue gets really sticky in those circumstances. Suppose a child is facing certain death but the treatment involves all kinds of additional pain and suffering and is not likely to work. What then? And what chance of success must there be?

      It is one thing for an adult to say “I will suffer even though it is unlikely to work because I want whatever shot I can get and even if it doesn’t work at least my death will help advance science and help to save others.” But not everyone would make that choice. And since children and the incapacitated can’t choose, the doctors would likely end up choosing yes for them. That could get very ugly very quickly.

      1. Suppose a child is facing certain death but the treatment involves all kinds of additional pain and suffering and is not likely to work. What then?

        Wouldn’t that be up to the parents/family of the afflicted person? As parents, people choose all the time whether a course of action is a net benefit for their children, I don’t know that this is any different.

  3. Just another opportunity for big business to run deadly experiments on people to desperate to make wise choices.

    1. Not only that, but those big businesses make all kinds of immoral profits while they’re at it.

    2. Just another opportunity for big government to kill people while waiting for a government approval process. If I want to take an experimental drug that gives me a small chance of life vs certain death then it should be my right.

      Oh…and fuck off slaver

      1. . . . and a newbie takes the bait

        1. Sorry, my sarc meter is off and I’m far from a newbie. Just don’t post much. And too many huffpo comment sections

          1. no problem

      2. And why do people think that everyone in a desperate situation suddenly loses the ability to think and reason? I’m about to die so I suddenly become a 2 year old?

        1. Depends what you’re dying of. My brother? Grown-ass adult “combat veteran”, as he used to refer to himself. Yeah, we made ALL the decisions for him at the end…he took pity on us and died so we didn’t have to make the decision to not treat with “extreme measures” (which is where we were headed) 🙁 Poor kid…one last act of kindness to his family. “You don’t need to make this decision – I got this…”

          So, yeah, sometimes you CAN’T make a decision, and you ARE thinking like a 2 year old. If you’re not, in my experience, the doctor(s) will ask YOU what you want to do. If you’re unable to make those decision (like my brother), big bro and sis and mom get to decide. That’s how it works…

      3. Willkommen to Hit Und Run!

  4. How does one even get these drugs or therapies which aren’t approved by the FDA?

    1. The first rule of “Therapies Not Approved by the FDA Club is….”

    2. It presupposes that the maker of the drug would be willing to sell or give it to them.

  5. You don’t have to be a doctrinaire libertarian?though it helps?to see the value in letting people with nothing left to lose experiment on themselves.

    Indeed. But I suppose you *have to be* a doctrinaire libertarian to see the value in letting people in general experiment on themselves.

    Less extremely: If the person is *terminal*, why must all “approved” procedures be exhausted first?

    Yes, I know — “baby steps”.

    1. Less extremely: If the person is *terminal*, why must all “approved” procedures be exhausted first?

      Well, by the time you’re declared “terminal” they have been.

      Unless what you really mean is, can we try these therapies before we’re declared terminal?

      1. What?! And be labeled a “doctrinaire libertarian”?!

        1. One who moves to the Ukraine and is never heard from again.

  6. Why is it called a “right”? And why does the “right” belong to the patient? Seems to me it’s the lifting of a barrier to commerce between two parties who want to do business.

    1. it’s the lifting of a barrier to commerce between two parties who want to do business.

      Pretty much the central core of everything the Democratic party is against.

      1. Well, yeah! I mean, you can’t just let people make money! They might get rich without paying their fair share! Without government oversight, every single business will rip off both their employees and their customers, all while getting rich! Government protects the people from evil corporations!

        (Of course government is controlled by those very same corporations it protects the people from, and needs more power so it can control the corporations that control it, bringing power to the people, but that’s a rant for another day.)

    2. It doesn’t belong to the patient. These laws are couched as “right to try”, but patients are already allowed to try these products; it’s just that people have been forbidden (by federal food & drug law and state pharm law) to market them. So it is the lifting of a barrier to commerce.

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