“Right To Try” legislation is slated to be voted on Tuesday in the U.S. House of Representatives.
According to Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick’s office, the Right to Try Act of 2017 is expected to come before the House Tuesday evening after passing unanimously in the Senate last year. Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the ALS Caucus, learned the bill was to come before the House while meeting with leadership last week.
Fitzpatrick has supported Right To Try legislation and pushed to get a companion bill passed in the House earlier this year following months of negotiations, but the slightly different bill was shot down in the Senate after it was put up in a unanimous consent vote.
Right To Try legislation has previously received support from Democrats and Republicans. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have both supported the effort.
“Americans should have every opportunity to fight for their life, or the life of their loved one. I am grateful for the steadfast efforts of Senator Johnson, Representative Andy Biggs and all the advocates who worked together behind the scenes to get to this point. Now it’s time to get Right to Try to the President’s desk,” Fitzpatrick said.
Right To Try legislation allows for terminal patients to use treatments that are under development have not completed the formal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process.
While there are already “compassionate-use exceptions” for experimental treatments granted to patients with terminal diseases, only about 1,000 waivers are approved by the FDA each year.
Trump’s administration has pushed for the legislation, but there have been ethical questions raised about whether the Right To Try would actually help most patients.
“Even if right to try does simplify federal regulation, patients must still convince a reticent pharmaceutical industry to provide drugs outside of trials, and patients must still bear the costs for these experimental treatments, which is out of reach for almost all Americans,” academic lecturer Morten Wendelbo and Texas A&M Assistant Professor
Fitzpatrick has been a supporter of the Right To Try effort during his first term. Northampton husband, father, and Navy veteran Matt Bellina, who has ALS, and Newtown Athletic Club owner Jim Worthington have worked with the congressman to move forward Right To Try legislation. Earlier this year, Bellina was Fitzpatrick’s guest at the State of the Union.