Everyone Deserves the Right to Try: Empowering the Terminally Ill to Take Control of their Treatment
by Christina Corieri
April 14, 2014
For patients suffering from terminal illnesses, the FDA is the arbiter of life and death. These patients, suffering from diseases ranging from ALS to Zellweger Syndrome, face little chance of recovery, but investigational medicines provide a glimmer of hope. To access these treatments, however, patients must either go through a lengthy FDA exemption process or wait for the treatments to receive FDA approval, which can take a decade or more and cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Over half a million cancer patients and thousands of patients with other terminal illnesses die each year as the FDA wheels slowly turn. States should enact “Right to Try” measures to protect the right of people to try to save their own lives. This initiative would allow terminal patients access to investigational drugs that have completed basic safety testing, thereby dramatically reducing paperwork, wait times and bureaucracy, and, most importantly, potentially saving lives.