Right to Try

Congress Approves 'Right to Try' Bill for Critically Ill

President expected to sign legislation allowing earlier access to experimental medication.

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Doctor with vial
Maska82 / Dreamstime.com

People with life-threatening illnesses may eventually see improved access to experimental drugs at an earlier stage of the federal approval process, thanks to a bill that passed the House today.

By a vote of 250-169, the House passed federal "Right to Try" legislation, pushed by the Arizona-based libertarian Goldwater Foundation. This bill allows patients with what the government classifies as a "life-threatening" illness or condition to get access to drugs that have completed the first stage of clinical trial but are not yet fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Most states have such laws on the books, but the federal government itself has lagged behind them in giving citizens permission to try experimental medication sooner if they're dying.

It seems like it would be slam dunk to let people decide for themselves whether to take such risks when they've got nothing left to lose, but there are still legislators and experts who seem to think that this is going to result in dire consequences:

From the Washington Post:

During the House floor debate, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, warned that eliminating FDA oversight "will provide fly-by-night physicians and clinics the opportunity to peddle false hope and ineffective drugs to desperate patients." He said he was especially concerned that patients who have "life-threatening" illnesses such as heart failure and diabetes would be eligible for right-to-try, even if they are not close to death.

The law specifically requires that the drugs have made it through the first stage of clinical testing. It seems a bit absurd to suggest that the snake-oil salesmen are going to pop out of the woodwork and try to sell fake cures. It also does not mandate pharmacy companies provide them. It gives both sides of the equation options.

The bill passed the Senate by a voice vote last year. President Donald Trump declared support for the legislation in his last State of the Union address and is expected to sign the bill into law.

Below, ReasonTV covered the Right to Try movement in 2015:

NEXT: Congress Just Voted to Repeal a Few Bits of Dodd-Frank

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  1. Trump is such a Nazi.

    1. You forgot “literally,” John. How else can you show you’re really committed to the #resistance?

  2. During the House floor debate, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, warned that eliminating FDA oversight “will provide fly-by-night physicians and clinics the opportunity to peddle false hope and ineffective drugs to desperate patients.” He said he was especially concerned that patients who have “life-threatening” illnesses such as heart failure and diabetes would be eligible for right-to-try, even if they are not close to death.

    Christ, what an asshole.

    1. The bill only allows access while the drug is under investigation. If and when the drug fails to pass testing, it can no longer be sold under these provisions.

      So known-ineffective drugs can’t be sold, only drugs of unknown-effectiveness. His hyperventilating is impressive.

      1. “His hyperventilating is impressive.”

        And so impressive from one of the ‘Party of Science ™’.

    2. This Pallone douchebag gets a lot of money from the health industry. Perhaps he is simply motivated by greed. Perhaps he is simply an asshole.

      1. “Perhaps he is simply motivated by greed. Perhaps he is simply an asshole.”

        Please forgive the cliche’;
        Yes.

    3. I despise most democrats, but how does recognizing the impending industry of garbage ‘experimental therapy’ make him an asshole?

      1. Because fear mongering inventing of an “impending industry of garbage experimental therapy” makes you an asshole.

        1. Only as much as your inability to see the real outcome makes you a fucktard.

  3. This is a good start.

    Maybe someday the government will realize you have a right to try anything because, you know, you’re able to be responsible for what you put into your own body… Maybe

    1. Democrats in the House are all about respecting your body and your right to choose what happens to it. Oh wait…

      1. You have to be a heartless bastard to vote against a bill like this. As heartless as those limey asshole in the UK’s NHS who would let a child die to further their statist cause.

        1. They created a workaround. Now they pull their heads off during birth. Saves a lot of time.

          1. They will declare the child stillborn at the same time. Gotta keep the stats up.

  4. Seems pretty half-assed but better than nothing. In the future I’d like to see patients who extend their projected life spans in campaign commercials against those who opposed this bill.

    1. You KNOW they’d try to absolve themselves because of “good intentions”.

  5. Seems pretty half-assed but better than nothing. In the future I’d like to see patients who extend their projected life spans in campaign commercials against those who opposed this bill.

  6. Dead people can’t vote, usually. You’ll die very very soon after your take these meds, most of the time, so the FDA does not give ONE tiny hoot about YOU! Now go away and die, w/o making so much trouble, you trouble-makers you!!!!

    1. We can’t vote FDA bureaucrats out. Libertarians should strongly support a return to the spoils system.

    2. Fuck you. You can’t tell how to die. I’m going to stick a snake to my dick and go machete the fuck out of my local Applebee’s.
      USA USA USA

      1. Your dimension also has Applebee’s?

        [crosses Yellow Tony’s dimension off the vacation list]

  7. Coolio. My drug that helps alleviate butthurt has been stagnating thanks to the FDA’s burdensome process. Now Buttplugatine will reach those who need it most much sooner than before! I wonder who’ll be the first lucky bastard to try it.

    1. All of us here already have more Buttplagatine than we know what to do with.

  8. “Now Buttplugatine will reach those who need it most much sooner than before!”

    Too late for the asshole rev, turd, Tony and Hihn; irreparable damage has been done. Old Mex is a maybe. Several on the Reason staff are doubtful.

  9. “But somebody might die!”

    1. …but everyone will die….FTFY

  10. “Now, I’m not saying this new drug is experimental, it’s gone through some trials, after all. Come and take your dose of Roldadiceonya.”

  11. Another benefit of this long-overdue law is that it may give terminally ill people a sense of meaning. I have wondered in the past why people would sign up for clinical trials, when they have a 50% chance of getting the placebo and when phase one is not even a clinical dose. Well, it turns out many of these people just want to be part of something greater. They want to feel like they contributed to medical research that may help people in the future. I suspect many people will feel the same way about trying an experimental drug. Sure, they hold on to the hope that it may work and cure them. But if not, they can feel that they contributed to the knowledge of how well the drug works, and that may give them a sense of meaning and satisfaction.

    1. Interesting comment. Recently a thread that wandered off to the ‘values’ of socialized medicine; I pointed out that offering free shit tended to increase the demand for it. I got a response that free shit didn’t increase the demand from those already ailing, as if that, uh……..
      Anyhow, the final response asked, if I supported the market promoting new medical tech, why someone hasn’t offered to pay for his/her experimental treatments? See? You can’t explain THAT!!?? NO YOU CAN’T!!!!!
      Obviously the dingbat in that exchange had no interest in advancing medical tech, just free-riding on it.
      Several years back, I had a ‘procedure’ and the Doc was active in developing new techniques; would I be a (blind) subject? You bet, just make sure my name is not associated with the procedure in any publication.
      No can do. Me: No can do.

    2. You wonder that because you don’t understand research.

      Phase one is to determine the safety profile, not efficacy.

      The placebo group is called a “control group,” and even the researchers are blinded to who receives placebo. This tactic reduces the chance that researchers will intentionally or unintentionally handle the therapy group differently to make it seem the experimental therapy is effective when it is in fact other factors influencing outcome.

      The data from the “right to try” use cannot be used to evaluate efficacy, nor would clinical researchers want it to be included because most (nearly all) of those people are going to die anyway, making it appear that their experimental therapy is garbage.

      But at least they got to charge the dead person for a little bit of “hope.”

      1. Just because it cannot be used to evaluate efficacy doesn’t mean it won’t be effective or useless in some people. What is useful to the dying subjects is not the same thing as what is or could be useful to researchers.

        Chemotherapy came out of research on chemical weapons in World War II. It took about two weeks to go to clinical trials after researchers noticed that certain chemicals cause tumor reduction in mice. And it saved and extended the lives of those in the trials.

        1. No one said that it won’t be effective; I was merely addressing the comments about Phase One clinical trials. There is no burden to show efficacy in a Phase One trial, but if there happens to be some evidence of efficacy…well…bonus.

          What cannot be ethically claimed to any desperate patient, however, after a small-population Phase One clinical trail is that the therapy holds hope for effectiveness.

          Using the WWII era as a benchmark for modern research is one of the dumbest things anyone could suggest. The era of Tuskegee? Holmesberg Prison trials? And those are the tip of the iceberg.

  12. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, warned that eliminating FDA oversight “will provide fly-by-night physicians and clinics the opportunity to peddle false hope and ineffective drugs to desperate patients.”

    “I mean, peddling false hope is *our* job.”

  13. Totally OT, and even more confused on how I got the ad, since I’m among the Silent Cal running club: I choose not to run.
    But now we have running shoes with coil-overs:
    https://enko-running-shoes.com/en/?gclid=
    CjwKCAjw_47YBRBxEiwAYuKdw6lsSFaImeh
    QMlW_ipHLceLMp_KHiAVx5rdEs
    GU2woHvNDCSQp96sRoC5J4QAvD_BwE

    I do not endorse or promote this brand, and I am the last to deny those who wish to spend money in their personal endeavors, but I’m giggling here.
    Will we soon, have ‘shoe engineers’, checking the reported data, to select spring rates and shock settings? Are there anti-roll mechanisms to prevent over- or under-steer in the turns?
    Inquiring minds want to know!

    1. “Totally OT, ”

      From you, no fucking way.

      And…Nike did Shox 20 years ago.

        1. For Nike Shox? Are you fucking kidding me? You’re in a running club, but you don’t know what Nike Shox are? Bullshit. Do you need me to cite that Nike had Air Jordans too? Jesus Christ.

          https://m.nike.com/us/en_us/pw/shox-shoes/9ifZoi3

          There’s Nike’s Shox website, which you could have simply searched for. Those are the current line, the first examples 20 years ago looked much more like automobile shocks than their current offerings.

          Also, you’re pimping shoes that were released 2 years ago. There’s nothing new about them.

          1. but see all the work Sevo got you to do? walked right into that one…

  14. Only 35 Democrats voted for this Bill with 147 voting against.

    232 Republicans voted for this bill.

  15. Or as it should be known “The Death of Effective Clinical Research Bill.”

    1. “effective” being the reason it takes decades and TOP MEN to decide.

      1. Something tells me Larry is a TOP MAN and his bread is something that won’t be buttered.

        1. Something tells me that you spend a lot of time consulting your straw men overlords before you post your logical fallacies.

      2. Shocker. Someone else who doesn’t understand how effective clinical research works.

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