House Republicans mounted a successful comeback effort last night to pass a controversial right-to-try bill giving consumers the opportunity to ask for access to experimental meds without FDA authorization. The bill now heads to the Senate, which has already passed similar legislation and is expected to steer this to the president’s office soon.
President Donald Trump has also voiced his enthusiastic support, so chances are high that the legislation will soon become law.
The bill passed 267-149, with the help of 35 Democrats.
Even in the biopharma industry, where a multitude of critics lamented a bill that would encourage poorly informed patients to ask for any kind of experimental treatment they might hear about — including ones that could prove dangerous or amounted to little more than snake oil — there was considerable underlying support for allowing people the right to try to guide their own care. While close to 6 out of 10 of more than 1,000 votes cast in Endpoints News’ reader survey turned thumbs down on the move, 42% came out in favor.
Biopharma companies won’t be forced to provide access to their experimental meds, but they will likely face increased demands from desperate or dying patients. Several dozen states have already passed similar legislation backed by the libertarian Goldwater Institute.
Goldwater is now pushing state bills that allow biopharma companies to promote drugs for indications they haven’t been approved for, causing critics to complain that the steady erosion of FDA authority could eventually create a dangerous free-for-all on the market.
Image: US National Capitol. SHUTTERSTOCK
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