The US House of Representatives yesterday passed a bill aiming to expand the “right to try” experimental drugs, sending the bill, which is backed by President Trump, to the Senate.
The bill would allow terminally ill patients access to investigational drugs drugs that haven’t been approved by the FDA, according to a report from The Hill. Patients would be able to request drugs as long as those drugs had been through initial clinical trials and were under consideration by the FDA.
The bill was passed mainly along party lines by Republicans, with only two opposed to it, while 35 Democrats also supported the bill, according to the report.
Supporters of the bill claimed that it was necessary, and urged the Senate to quickly pass the legislation. The Senate had previously voted on its own version of the bill last August, passing it by unanimous consent, according to The Hill.
“Right to try needs to become the law of the land. It passed the Senate unanimously last summer, and I’m disappointed the House didn’t pass that bill and send it to the president for his signature. Nonetheless, I plan to ask my colleagues to pass right to try again immediately. Terminally Ill patients and their families have waited long enough,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who supported the senate bill, said, according to the report.
Democrats and a number of patient advocacy groups voiced concerns about the bill, stemming mainly from patent safety issues.
“By allowing patients access to investigational treatments that have only completed a phase 1 clinical trial, patients will be exposed to treatments with no or relatively little data that they are actually effective,” Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), the top democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee said, according to The Hill. “These extremely small trials only examine the safety and toxicity of a drug and do not determine the effectiveness or potential side effects.”