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Legislation would help terminal patients

State Sen. Chuck McIlhinney has introduced legislation intended to help patients who suffer from a terminal illness to pursue a broader range of treatment options. Senate Bill 569 would allow eligible patients who have a terminal illness to use investigational drugs, biological products and devices not yet approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


The legislation would permit the use of treatment options only if they have passed Phase 1 of the FDA review process, but have not been approved for use outside of clinical trials. The treatments would be available only to patients who have a terminal illness or meet other qualifying requirements.

“The FDA’s approval process for experimental drugs and treatments can take several years, but patients who are dealing with a terminal illness do not have the luxury of time to wait,” McIlhinney said. “The FDA serves a critical function in protecting patients from ineffective or unsafe medications, but individuals who have critical health care needs — and few medical alternatives — deserve the right to explore potentially life-saving treatment options that are still mired in clinical trials.”

The “Right to Try” bill mirrors legislation that has already been approved in 31 states. ••

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