Speed Reads

right to try

Terminally ill patients can now try experimental treatments without waiting for FDA approval

President Trump on Wednesday signed the Right to Try Act, allowing terminally ill patients to gain access to new treatments that have not fully completed the Food and Drug Administration's approval process. "Thousands of terminally ill Americans will finally have hope and the fighting chance," Trump said at the signing ceremony, "and I think it's going to better than a chance, that they will be cured, they will be helped, and be able to be with their families for a long time, or maybe just for a longer time."

The bill had bipartisan support in Congress, with backers arguing it is only humane to let the dying seek every available option for relief. However, the act was opposed by most Democrats, who cautioned, in the words of Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), that it could expose patients to "snake oil salesmen or ... experimental treatments that might do more harm than good."

Patients will still have to go through an approval process to get permission to try new drugs, and pharmaceutical companies will retain discretion to refuse requests if they believe the product is not ready or could expose them to legal liability. Reach more about the "right to try" movement here at The Week.