“Right-to-try” laws are a cruel sham that purport to allow terminally ill patients access to promising experimental drugs. In reality, they strip away many protections and leave vulnerable patients on their own. After four years and a number of toothless state laws, a federal version of “right-to-try” has passed Congress and is poised to become law. Once President Trump signs the bill this week, this federal version of “right-to-try” will leave terminally ill patients on their own and will likely be the first step in returning the FDA to its pre-thalidomide state, in which it only required evidence of safety, not efficacy, to approve drugs.
It’s finally happened. A “right-to-try” bill is coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives. It’s been slightly modified from the version that passed the Senate last year to make it less patient-hostile, but it’s still the same cruel sham that right-to-try has always been.
So-called “right-to-try” laws have passed in 38 states. A cruel sham whose real purpose has nothing to do with helping terminally ill patients and everything to do with the libertarian war on FDA regulation, these laws claim to allow terminally ill patients to bypass the FDA and obtain access to experimental drugs that have passed phase I testing. They do nothing of the sort, which is why right-to-try advocates have “gone federal.” A right-to-try bill has passed the Senate, and Vice President Mike Pence and Koch Brothers-backed groups are lobbying hard to pass it in the House. There is still hope to stop it.
Yesterday, I wrote about how right-to-try and an unethical offshore vaccine trial are part of free market fundamentalists’ attack on the FDA. Here’s another example, the “right to choose medicine.”
I’ve discussed so-called “right-to-try” laws, which promise to speed experimental drugs to terminally ill patients, but which in reality are about weakening and bypassing the FDA. Now über-Libertarian Peter Thiel is trying a new tactic to bypass the FDA by organizing an offshore clinical trial of a new herpes vaccine based on dubious science and not overseen by an IRB to protect patients. Both right-to-try and this trial are different fronts in the same fundamentalist free market war on FDA regulation.