Right to Try Laws Now in 5 States

After this month’s elections, the number of states that have “right to try” laws for experimental drugs has hit five. One in ten states: Not bad for an effort run out of one think tank in Arizona.

However, I have seen no evidence that any manufacturer of an experimental drug is taking advantage of these laws to supply medicines to desperately ill patients in these states. This is understandable: Doling out the medicines to needy patients threatens the sanctity of clinical trials and, therefore, FDA approval.

Congress needs to reform the rules governing the FDA to make use of more real-world evidence in approving new medicines. This is statistically challenging and not to be undertaken lightly. Nevertheless, if more states pass “right to try” laws, I expect that Congress will see the necessity of action.

Comments (2)

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  1. Reeves says:

    How many states do you think will try to implement “right to try” laws? And what challenges would Congress have in addressing such legislation?

    • John R. Graham says:

      Well, both Democratic and Republican governors have signed bills. And in states with initiatives on the ballot, it should be pretty achievable.

      Congress’ barrier is drug companies which are concerned about the integrity of clinical trials and FDA approval. So, it is a bigger ball of wax than the “right to try” laws alone address.