‘Right To Try’ Bill Would Let Terminal Patients Use Unapproved Medications

Six Other States Have Recently Passed Similar Laws

Haley Bouchard (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Democratic lawmakers are proposing a bill to allow dying people in Wisconsin to use treatments which have not yet received federal approval.

In February, state Sen. Fred Risser and Rep. Sondy Pope introduced an assisted suicide bill. Now Risser and Rep. Dianne Hesselbein are out with legislation dubbed the “right to try” bill. It allows terminally ill patients to try drugs the Food and Drug Administration is still investigating.

“This has come to me from constituents. Not one but several,” Risser said.

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To qualify, patients will have to exhaust all other means of treatment. The bill would allow dying patients to use drugs that have passed the FDA’s first clinical trial phase.

“A drug has to go through three phases and sometimes it takes many, many years before its approved for general usage,” Risser explained. “This would speed up the process”

The bill limits liability for drug makers, physicians and pharmacists. Risser said six states have passed “right to try” bills in the last year: Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Missouri, Louisiana and Michigan.