President Trump has signed a bill which will give terminally ill patients the right to try experimental treatments that have not yet been approved by the government.
In essence, the Right to Try act will allow patients with life-threatening diseases to bypass the FDA’s application process for whey they term the “compassionate use” of experimental drugs. As the FDA’s website explains:
“Expanded access, sometimes called “compassionate use,” is the use outside of a clinical trial of an investigational medical product (i.e., one that has not been approved by FDA). FDA is committed to increasing awareness of and knowledge about its expanded access programs and the procedures for obtaining access to human investigational drugs (including biologics) and medical devices.”
Patients who are seeking to use “investigational drugs,” will now only need the approval of their physician and the drug’s manufacturer.
“America is a nation of fighters. We never give up, right?” the President said to patients and their families at the signing ceremony which was held at the White House Wednesday. After signing the bill, and in a gesture that was talked about on social media, Trump then handed his pen to nine-year-old Jordan McLinn, who suffered from a rare form of terminal muscular dystrophy.
McLinn, clearly looking to draw the President’s attention, tried to get a hug from the commander in chief. Eventually, he succeeded:
GUYS OMG pic.twitter.com/8ro8C30Rkp
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) May 30, 2018
Vice President Mike Pence praised the President’s action, which he said grants the gravely sick a vital shot at life.
Thanks to [President Trump’s] leadership, Congress came together last week to pass Right to Try, giving seriously ill patients hope & a fighting chance,” he tweeted Wednesday. “Right to Try allows access to experimental medicine. Great day coming for families when President Trump signs Right to Try into law!”
Thanks again to these #RightToTry families, the McLinns, Bellinas, Mongiellos & Wendlers. Because of your (and so many others') courage & support and the leadership of @POTUS, Americans now have a Right to Try! pic.twitter.com/g7igO2PdWL
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) May 31, 2018
Pence said that campaigning families had faced huge opposition in their quest to make experimental drugs more widely available.
Great honor to welcome these heroic families to the Vice President’s office today right after @POTUS signed #RightToTry into law. Amid hardship, these families courageously worked to make more medicines available to countless Americans in the years ahead. Job well done! pic.twitter.com/qgWaLTFvzc
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) May 30, 2018
“To these courageous families, to a President who keeps his promise, let me say with a prayer on my lips: Thank you for giving a hope and a future to these and other American families,” Pence said.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2018
In Trump’s State of the Union address back in January, he urged Congress to pass the bill, saying “patients with terminal conditions, and terminal illness, should have access to experimental treatment immediately” and “should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure.”