House to Vote on Right to Try Legislation on Tuesday

The House failed to pass a bill Tuesday backed by President Donald Trump that would give terminally ill patients the right to seek drugs that remain in a clinical trial phase and are not yet fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration

Key Democrat comes out against 'right to try' bill

The House rejected legislation Tuesday easing how experimental drugs are provided to people with terminal illnesses, as Democrats calling the bill risky and misleading overcame support from President Donald Trump and emotional arguments by Republican lawmakers and ailing constituents. The measure was unanimously approved by the Senate a year ago.

Pallone's argument against the bill mirrors the argument of other opponents, who note the FDA has a compassionate-use program allowing physicians to request access to experimental drugs for patients; the FDA approves 99 percent of the requests in that program.

According to the Examiner, right-to-try laws have been passed in 38 states, including in, where then-Governor Mike Pence signed one into law.

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Republicans brought patients with fatal diseases to the House chamber, including Jordan McLinn, 8, of Indianapolis, a muscular dystrophy sufferer who sat beside Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore.

Supporters say patients who've exhausted other treatment options or don't qualify for clinical trials deserve the chance to obtain drugs that made it through first-phase safety testing at the Food and Drug Administration, without interference from the government. Objections to the bill were underpinned by the belief that it would have little effect on access to medicines but would render patients vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous doctors and drugmakers, who would have total control if the FDA was cut out of the process. Current funding expires on March 23, and House and Senate leaders are hoping to unveil the next spending bill this week.

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They said it was wrong to give patients a new workaround, saying they feared desperate families would falsely see new hope. The FDA would have to be notified of the decision and of any problems that occur.

But the bill had its share of critics outside the House cambers, who said it failed to address the problem of gaining access to experimental treatments because it did not require that drug companies allow those treatments to be accessed.

A spokeswoman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she'll oppose the legislation.

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The latest version beefs up consent requirements for patients and liability protections for doctors and manufacturers, after right-to-try advocates said too many companies were shying away from participation.

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