When faced with near certain death at the hands of a debilitating disease or virus, most patients and their loved ones will seek any possible life saving remedies wherever they can be found. While many such medicines might not exist on the current market, the magic cure might lie more in experimental drugs, those fresh for trials. The use of experimental drugs is hardly a new concept, but attempting to gain access can be a vain effort. For those terminally ill patients, applying for use of the new drug can take months, and gaining approval can take years. To the terminally ill, the prospect of such a long wait can be quite discouraging.
A new bill in workings, HB94, aims to cut away at the red tape surrounding the use of experimental drugs and make the process much shorter. January 13, Utah lawmakers announced their support for a “Right to Try” bill that would give the terminally ill access to experimental drugs. Republican Senator Evan Vickers voiced his support of HB94, “It puts the decision-making process in the hands of the patient, the family and the provider, where it really should be.” The bill states that patients with the approval and backing of their doctor may directly contact drug companies and request experimental drugs that have passed the first phase of three at the FDA, determining side effects and, how often the drug is metabolized/excreted. Utah would not be the first state to pass such legislation. Five other states have already passed a “Right to Try” law: Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Missouri, and Michigan. Kansas and Wyoming are also considering similar bills.