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Terminally Ill Patients To Have Access To Experimental Meds

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Gov. Bobby Jindal is going to sign into law today a bill called “The Right to Try” Act, which would allow terminally ill patients to access experimental medications that could save their lives.

The Goldwater Institute designed this measure, and External Affairs Vice President Victor Riches says Food and Drug Administration approval could take years.

“That’s where this came from,” said Riches. “It was an effort to create a process that supplements what the FDA is doing to get these medications to these people who need them the most.”

"These are really the sickest of the patients — the ones who are out of options."

Riches says The Right to Try Act enables people with little time left to receive potentially life-saving medications that have been deemed safe by the FDA but are years away from being approved for market.

“They have to have gone through phase 1 of the FDA’s process, which is the basic safety testing phase,” Riches said. “And they also have to be a part of the FDA ongoing trial. And of course they have to be prescribed by a physician.”

Riches says Louisiana is now the second state in the nation to sign the Right to Try Act into law. Nobody voted against this bill in the 2014 session.

He says there are many patients who die each year knowing that there may be a drug in existence that could help them, but they were unable to get.

“So this is really just an effort to make sure that patients have access to medications,” said Riches. “These are really the sickest of the patients — the ones who are out of options.”

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