December 30, 2014 Print

A new package of health care reform proposals released this month from the Beacon Center of Tennessee includes a comprehensive analysis of the benefits of “Right to Try” legislation, which would allow terminally ill patients the option of trying experimental medication that has not yet received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

The Beacon Center, an Atlas Network partner, notes in a Forbes commentary by director of policy Lindsay Boyd, “Just 10 percent of developed drugs ever make it to the human testing stage and only one in five of these are ultimately made available to the public.” The high cost and lengthy delays associated with drug development leave many dying patients without legal options in a desperate fight to survive.

Right to Try laws are already active in five states, including passage earlier this year in Arizona and Missouri, both states with Atlas Network partners who have argued in favor of patients’ access to medication.

In Arizona, the Goldwater Institute has played a foundational role in passing Right to Try legislation across the country, and has documented case after case in which terminal patients have been saved by experimental drugs, as well as those who died while bureaucratic red tape denied them access to medicine that could have saved them. A Right to Try ballot measure passed in Arizona during the November election.

In Missouri, Show-Me Institute senior analyst Patrick Ishmael wrote in Forbes, “Terminal patients who have exhausted all their options deserve a shot at hope and survival, and Right to Try helps to open the door to more treatment options in the states that have enacted it.” Missouri’s Right to Try legislation passed the Missouri legislature and was signed into law in July.