Oregon Enacts “Right to Try” Law Letting Dying Patients Try Experimental Treatments

Oregon Democratic Governor Kate Brown signed the Oregon Right To Try Act into law last week, thus allowing doctors to prescribe experimental medications and treatments to terminally ill patients. Under the new law, dying patients no longer have to lobby for an exemption from the Food and Drug Administration in order to try medications that are still being tested and have not yet obtained FDA approval.

People fighting for their lives shouldn’t have to fight the government too. Any person who wants to access a promising investigational treatment when they have exhausted standard treatment protocols should have the right to do that,” said Goldwater Institute president Darcy Olsen in comments to KTVZ-TV.

The Goldwater Institute has been pushing for the enactment of “right to try” laws in states across the U.S. with great success. “To say that Right To Try is sweeping the country may be an understatement. In little more than one year the law has been adopted by 24 states,” said Olsen.

The Chicago Tribune notes that Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner just signed similar legislation into law on August 5.

Oregon joins Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming in enacting a law allowing terminally ill patients to try experimental treatments.

According to PBS, Colorado became the first U.S. state to enact such a law in May of 2014.

Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey praised the sudden rise of “right to try” legislation and criticized FDA policies that complicate terminally ill patients’ ability to try experimental drugs. “FDA regulations that would let somebody die rather than try have got to be some of the most inhumane policies the federal government has ever conceived. Every state should nullify these FDA rules,” said Maharrey.

Twelve additional U.S. states are considering “right to try” bills this year.