By Kate Frisher, Campaigns Coordinator
For someone living with a serious disease, including women with terminal breast cancer, experimental drugs and treatments can offer a last hope when conventional options have run out.
Luckily, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has an effective program, known as compassionate use or expanded access, for accessing experimental drugs. But lawmakers are trying to undermine the FDA’s ability to regulate drugs in development, and they’re putting patient safety at risk by pushing for a controversial drug access bill known as “Right to Try.”
Despite the catchy name, Right to Try only offers false hope. It fails to give patients any right to access drugs or devices, but it allows companies to sell potentially ineffective or harmful experimental products to the public without any legal, medical, or financial protections for patients. It’s a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.
What we need are better treatments for breast cancer and other diseases. But passing federal Right to Try legislation isn’t what will set us on the path toward new treatments that are less toxic, more effective, or more affordable. It’s legislation that would allow unethical pharmaceutical companies to exploit vulnerable patients by charging as much as they want for drugs that may actually hasten their death—while also depriving doctors and scientists from learning whether a drug is effective or not.
The Senate already passed the dangerous and misleading Right to Try Act of 2017. A similar bill on the House side is imminent, and stopping it in the House is our last defense.
Any version of a Right to Try bill that weakens drug regulation and puts patient safety at risk is a bill that doesn’t truly put patients first. Your Representative needs to hear from you now! Tell them to vote “NO” on Right to Try.