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Demand Builds for Access to Experimental Drugs

Andrew D. Smith
Published: Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018
Dr Bruce E. Johnson

Bruce E. Johnson, MD
Right-to-try (RTT) legislation, which allows dying patients to take investigational medications without approval from the FDA, is on a roll. Legislatures in 39 states have approved such laws in recent years, as has the US Senate, and bills are pending in all other states1 and the US House of Representatives (FIGURE).

 

Figure. Status of Right to Try Legislation on State Level

rtt-figure.jpg
The concept is far less popular, however, among academic researchers, learned societies, professional regulators, and other members of the medical establishment. Some objectors believe that RTT laws endanger patients. Others think the laws could hinder the FDA’s ability to weigh the harms and benefits of experimental drugs. Still others think that RTT laws are pointless bromides that leave the real obstacles to patient access fully intact.
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