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Opinion: Congress should pass federal 'right-to-try' bill

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(Sinclair Broadcast Group){ }

EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Terminal illness has touched my family. I am sure it has an overwhelming majority of your families.

I had two grandparents die of cancer. I know that if there had been a drug that could have helped, even if it had not been fully tested, I would have given anything for my grandmother and grandfather to give it a shot.

An extra week, month, year or years of life mean everything.

That is why the Right to Try Act is so important. Right-to-try allows terminally ill patients access to medicine which is still in clinical trials and has passed the first phase of the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process.

The House and the Senate have each passed their own versions of right-to-try. Now they are trying to come up with a common bill which can pass both chambers and then be signed by President Donald Trump.

One of the criticisms against right-to-try, is it may harm patients since these drugs could have unknown side effects and the FDA wouldn’t have full access to monitoring their use. However, the House version of this bill, passed in March, addresses these concerns and mandates that any negative side effects from the experimental drugs be immediately reported.

Forty states and counting have passed some varying version of right-to-try laws. A federal law is needed so the same rules apply across the country.

Here is the bottom line: right-to-try could save, or prolong, the lives of those who are really sick. It is also a statement that in this country, we are for innovation and for giving hope where there may otherwise be none.