The U.S Senate on easily passed legislation that aims to help terminally ill patients access experimental treatments (for example, stem cells therapies) under so-called “right to try” laws. Now the full House will vote on it (STATS, January 8, 2017).
The bill would establish national standards and rules to help channel drugs still under development to terminally ill patients.
It would also shield pharmaceutical companies and doctors from some of the legal risks of providing drugs that have not been approved by the agency.
Companies that manufacture such drugs and doctors who prescribe them would generally be protected unless they engaged in “reckless or willful misconduct” or “gross negligence” or intentionally harmed a patient.
“These are real people facing their mortality with no hope,” Senator Ron Johnson said.
Controversy. The bill would expose to false hope terminally ill patients and undermine the F.D.A.’s authority to supervise the use of experimental treatments
Opponents of the bill say there is a difference between dying comfortably and dying horribly, suffering pain and other side effects of an unapproved drug.
Public Citizen, a consumer group, said the bill would “provide false hope to patients” and undermine the F.D.A.’s authority to supervise the use of experimental treatment (New York Times, AUGUST