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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 1, 2016 02:07 PM
From: Representative Robert W. Godshall
To: All House members
Subject: Right to Try legislation
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that, if enacted, would allow eligible patients with a terminal illness to use investigational drugs, biological products and devices not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The process of approval for investigational drugs, biological products, and devices in the United States protects future patients from premature, ineffective and unsafe medications and treatments over the long run, but the process often takes many years. Patients who have a terminal illness do not have the luxury of waiting until these drugs and devices receive final approval from the FDA.

Under my “Right to Try” legislation, a manufacturer of an investigational drug, biological product or device may make available, and an eligible patient may request, the investigational drug, biological product or device as long as the patient has a terminal illness and passes other requirements.

You may have seen 60 Minutes discussing the new cancer treatment which has produced dramatic results, but took many years to get FDA approval on an experimental basis. The treatment was for, what had been an always fatal brain tumor and is now being looked at for other types of cancer.

Currently, there are 31 states that have ‘Right to Try’ laws. In addition, H.R. 790, the Compassionate Freedom of Choice Act of 2015, has been recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Several other state legislatures are in the process of considering similar legislation.

I believe that patients who have a terminal illness have a fundamental right to attempt to pursue the preservation of their own lives by accessing available investigational drugs, biological products, and devices. I hope you will join in co-sponsoring this important, life-saving legislation. Thank you for your interest and support.

Introduced as HB45