The governor will soon be considering a measure that could give terminally ill patients one last chance of survival by giving them control over their terminal treatment options. House Bill 1074, also known as the Right-to-Try Act, would allow such patients, who have received approval from their physician, access to investigational medications, biological products or devices that have completed Food and Drug Administration phase one safety testing and remain under an approved investigation. The bill, which was approved by the Senate earlier this week, is authored by Rep. Richard Morrissette and Sen. Rob Standridge.
Standridge believes the measure is a right to life issue that must be addressed to give patients the power to save their own lives.
“Everyone deserves the right to try to save their own life if they so choose. Unfortunately, in Oklahoma and many other states, terminally-ill patients have no rights when it comes to deciding their own fate because of restrictive laws on investigational treatments,” said Standridge, R-Norman. “This bill would make promising medications available to those who are simply out of options. It doesn’t make sense for the government to tell someone who is dying that they can’t try an experimental drug because of possible side effects. Side effects mean nothing to someone who has only months to live.”
Designed by the Goldwater Institute, Right-to-Try has been adopted in five states including Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri and Louisiana. Oklahoma is one of 24 states that have filed Right-to-Try legislation this year.
Standridge pointed out that the FDA approval process for experimental drugs is simply too long for terminally-ill patients typically taking several years and multiple clinical trials to complete.
According to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, it normally takes 5.5 to 10.5 years for a drug to receive FDA approval, and Standridge says that’s time that Oklahoma’s terminally-ill patients don’t have.
Under HB 1074, manufacturers would not be required to make experimental treatments available to eligible patients. Health insurance companies wouldn’t be required to provide coverage for such products either. A licensing board could not take action against a provider based solely on their recommendations to an eligible patient regarding access to, or treatment with, such products. Additionally, the measure would not create a private cause of action against a manufacturer or against any other person or entity involved in the care of an eligible patient using such products.