Wednesday, January 14, 2015

NYT on "Right To Try"

The 1/10/2015 New York Times had a detailed article on a growing grass-roots push for medical freedom, "Patients Seek 'Right to Try' New Drugs".

Some excerpts:
Since May, a string of states have passed laws that give critically ill patients the right to try medications that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Deemed “Right to Try” laws, they have passed quickly and often unanimously in Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Louisiana and Arizona, bringing hope to patients like Larry Kutt, who lives in this small town at the edge of the Rocky Mountains. Mr. Kutt, 65, has an advanced blood cancer and says his state’s law could help him gain access to a therapy that several pharmaceutical companies are testing. “It’s my life,” he said, “and I want the chance to save it.”

...The Colorado law, which is similar to ones in other states, permits terminally ill patients who have exhausted their treatment options — including clinical trials — to obtain therapies that have passed at least the first of three F.D.A. investigation phases. The law does not require companies to provide the treatment, nor does it mandate that insurance companies cover it; the law also allows insurance companies to deny coverage to patients while they use drugs under investigation.
The article also notes that the FDA has its own program for allowing ill patients to try unapproved drugs. But patients and their families complain that the bureaucratic delays can be too long.  One patient advocate said: "We don’t have time to jack around with bureaucratic practices when someone’s life is on the line."

I'm glad more patients are fighting for this option.  They're not violating anyone else's rights. And this might be their only chance.

Related graphic from US News & World Report: