Pa. may join ‘right to try’ states allowing dying patients access to experimental meds



    Terminally ill patients would be able to try experimental drugs, devices and procedures under a proposal approved by a Pennsylvania House committee.

    Pennsylvania would join more than 20 other states that have already approved the legislation, known as “right to try.”

    Under the measure, patients with terminal illness could get drugs, devices and procedures under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that have not yet been approved.

    Rep. Robert Godshall, R-Montgomery, sponsored the bill.

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    At age 72, he needed a procedure to treat his multiple myeloma that was approved only for patients 65 and younger.

    Eventually, he persuaded doctors to try it on him.

    “I told them the full responsibility lies with me. In the right to choose, the liability lies with the person who takes that chance,” Godshall said.

    Godshall’s legislation would exempt doctors from liability.

    “That’s what I’d like to see — anybody else that’s terminal, the same that I was, that has a chance,” he said. “If there’s something out there that might help them, that they would have a right.”

    Manufacturers would be able to choose if they’ll provide the experimental drug or device, and insurance companies would not have to cover the cost.

    The libertarian group the Goldwater Institute is behind the nationwide “right to try” movement.

    It’s unknown how many patients have successfully used the laws to get experimental drugs, devices or procedures.

    The House committee approved the right to try proposal 24-1.

    It now goes to the full House.

    More than 20 states have approved similar bills, and another is pending in the U.S. Senate.

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