Rep. Ward Introduces Bipartisan “Right to Try” Bill
Maine can join the growing number of states to pass this type of legislation
Augusta – Rep. Karl Ward of Dedham introduced legislation before the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services to add Maine to the growing number of states that have adopted so-called “Right to Try” bills. This bill, LD 180, and others like it allow terminally ill patients to exhaust every possible treatment to help their condition even if those treatments are not yet fully approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
These drugs, biological products and devices would have to complete Phase I of a United States Food and Drug Administration-approved clinical prior to being administered to these terminally ill patients.
“I think every one of us would do almost anything to give us even the slimmest chance. A glimmer of hope,” said Rep. Ward, a mandatory cosponsor of the bill. “We agree that each of us should be free to exercise a basic freedom – to attempt to preserve our own life. The burdens imposed on a terminal patient who fights to save his or her own life are a violation of personal liberty. We should have the option of accessing investigational drugs which have passed basic safety tests, provided there is a doctor’s recommendation, informed consent and the willingness of the manufacturer of the medication to make such drugs available.”
As of today, In 12 states, that hope had been provided, in the form of state legislation similar to the bill being brought before you today. In 2014, Right to Try was passed in the state legislatures of Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri and last fall, voters in Arizona adopted a resolution to place the issue on the November ballot where it was approved by a nearly 80 percent of Arizonans and became law.
And in just the first 3 months of this year, Right to Try bills have been filed in 28 additional states and the District of Columbia, including Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire and has been enacted into law in Arkansas, Indiana, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.
As of this afternoon, a pending bill awaits the Governor’s signature in Oklahoma where it just passed in the House 96-0.
No one spoke in opposition to this bill at today’s public hearing. A work session will be scheduled in the coming weeks where the proposal will get its first vote.