Arizona Leads Nation in Giving Patients the Right to Try
“The right to try to save one’s own life is one of the most precious rights of all.” – Victor Riches, President and CEO of the Goldwater Institute
This month, the Arizona House and Senate passed Right to Try 2.0 legislation, which was recently signed by Governor Ducey. Many states have enacted Right to Try legislation, which allows patients with no other options access to experimental treatments not yet given FDA approval. Unfortunately, these laws did not cover individualized therapies and patients like Keira Riley whose parents were forced to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to move to Milan, Italy for life-saving treatment for their daughter.
New gene and cell therapies like the one that saved Keira’s life are based on one’s own genetics, which makes timely FDA approval almost impossible. FDA approval takes years and multiple sets of clinical trials. Of course, ensuring the safety of patients is a necessary goal, but if a patient with a rare disease has no other options, new individualized treatments can be life-saving. The new Arizona legislation, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Barto, is based on ALEC’s Safeguard the Right to Try Cutting-Edge Medicine Act model policy and secures the right for patients to try these individualized treatments.
Keira Riley’s parents were fortunate to be able to go to Milan for the treatment needed to save her life, but what about the other families and patients who are in similar situations? Arizona has taken a huge step in allowing those patients the right to try individualized treatments to save or improve their lives, and other states should follow their lead.