A compassionate bill aimed at patients suffering from terminal illnesses pushed its way through the Senate Committee on Health Policy today. The Right to Try Act by St. Petersburg state Sen. Jeff Brandes earned broad support in the committee.
The law would allow dying patients to access experimental medical treatments that have passed a Phase One Clinical Trial, but have not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
“Floridians deserve to have access to medical treatments that could extend or improve the quality of their lives,” Brandes said. “It often takes three years or longer for medications to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. We can save lives by speeding up access to these treatments for patients who don’t have other options available, and I look forward to strong bipartisan support of this legislation.”
Patients seeking experimental medications would have to have the permission of their doctor or provide their own informed consent.
Drugs that fail to make it through the FDA’s process due to lack of efficacy would be excluded from experimental medications allowed under the law.
The bill also adopts Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment to help patients plan ahead for end of life treatment.
The bill does not provide a means for assisted suicide as has been done in some states for terminally ill patients. In a previous interview, Brandes told FloridaPolitics.com he was opposed to such measures.
Brandes’ Senate Bill 1052 is joined by a similar bill filed in the House by Ray Pilon.
If approved, the law would join eight states that already have Right to Try laws in place. According to Brandes’ staff, similar laws are on the table in 20 other states.
This type of legislation has been endorsed by the Libertarian think-tank, the Goldwater Institute.