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Wisconsin Assembly Passes ‘Right To Try’ Bill

Proposal Would Allow Use Of Some Drugs Not Yet Approved By FDA

Wisconsin State Capitol
Jeff E. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Terminally ill patients would be allowed to try drugs not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under a so-called “right to try” bill approved Tuesday by the Wisconsin Assembly.

Assembly Republican sponsor Pat Snyder, of Schofield, said he spent the last four years volunteering for a hospice organization, which gave him a chance to get to know terminally ill patients and their families.

“This just gives the people the right to try to the end if they choose to,” Snyder said. “This is their decisions. They might choose not to. But in the long run, what it comes down to is the people and their families who are suffering this to make the decision with their physician on trying some experimental drugs that are in the field.”

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The Wisconsin Medical Society opposes the bill, arguing that if enough patients try experimental treatments, it could slow down research on drugs that work. Democratic Rep. Deb Kolste, of Janesville, made a similar argument during debate on the Assembly floor Tuesday.

“It could hurt the research that does actually come up with valid and new lifesaving drugs,” Kolste said. “The right to try bill is bringing false hope.”

The plan passed the state Assembly by a vote of 83 to 13.

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