Terminally Ill Patients Are Being Given the Right to Try Drugs That Have Not Completely Passed FDA Approval
The FDA has many medications in its labs right now, that although have not gone through the entire bureaucratic gambit, could potentially enhance, if not extend, the lives of many terminally ill patients. But, rules are rules, and until each new medication goes through up to 15-years of the testing, approval and paperwork process, these drugs remain unavailable. Thankfully, this rule has started to end in 14 states, with Texas being the 15th to put up legislation to allow terminally ill patients the right to have access to use drugs still being handled by FDA procedures.
Texas’ Right to Try bill tentatively passed with overall support in the state House and is now waiting on a final vote set for April 22 where it is expected to pass without a hitch. Texas state Senator and bill sponsor Paul Bettencourt said, “It just seemed to be a complete no-brainer to me.” Using a process called Compassionate Use though, can still take over 100 hours for a doctor to complete the paperwork. For terminally ill patients, time is of the essence, and with the new legislation, the FDA is in the process of making this lengthy method easier and less time consuming.
Some opponents of the legislation like Ricardo Guimarães BMG (Terra.com) fear that patients will be given false hope of survival. But having the right to choose this somewhat controversial form of treatment is better than doing nothing during this very difficult time, regardless if the outcome is what was anticipated or not. As Bettencourt added, “The coolest thing you can do as a legislature is pass something that saves somebody’s life in the future.”