Reason Podcast

Right to Try Gives Terminal Patients Access to Potentially Life-Saving Treatments Without FDA Permission

An interview with Christina Sandefur of the Goldwater Institute, which was instrumental in passing the new federal law.


In May of 2018, President Donald Trump signed a new law allowing patients with life-threatening conditions to access experimental medications without obtaining FDA approval.

In our latest podcast, Reason's Zach Weissmueller sits down with Christina Sandefur, executive vice president of the Arizona-based Goldwater Institute, which played a key role in getting the law passed in 41 states before it arrived on the president's desk. 

For more on the topic, watch Weissmueller's video documentary on subject. In this conversation, he and Sandefur delve deeper into the details of the new Right to Try law, why it matters, how it got it passed, some criticisms of the legislation, and what more needs to be done to bring down prescription drug costs and spur innovation.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.


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  1. Part of the real problem with drug costs is the incredible cost of litigation with the medications. I am a chronically ill patient with lots of autoimmune conditions. It really angers me to see all the ads urgy people to sue or more specifically, to join a class-action law suit. I have seen lawsuit ads for medications that I am or have taken. The lawsuits are almost always for stated dangers of the drug in the literature that came with the medication. I do not think anyone should be able to sue for any harm that was warned about. All medications have pros and benefits and it behooves people to make their own choices. And because they are always recruiting people who have one condition for the studies, in autoimmune situations, it is very rare to find people who have only one condition. So you get very small samples and then here come the black box warning- like with Xarelto- where once it got out in the regular autoimmune population, was found to cause blood clots. But let everyone choose their own relative risks- Thank you Goldwater Institute for fighting for this law.

  2. At the risk of being mean — aren’t they ALSO non-viable?

  3. I can say thank’s for sharing this interview,

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