Terminally ill patients in Illinois could get a shot at life-saving drugs, under a measure state lawmakers will consider. State Sen. Mike Connelly (R-Lisle) is sponsoring the Right to Try Act. “The Right to Try Act allows terminally ill patients, under the care of their doctors and cooperating drug companies, access to potentially life-saving or life-extending medications that have already been deemed safe by the FDA,” he said.
The federal Food and Drug Administration requires new pharmaceutical drugs to undergo several rounds of testing before they’re approved for commercial sale. The first round is for safety. Drugs that have passed that test could be available under this program. Further rounds test for effectiveness, but for patients at the end of their rope, Connelly says, why not let them try the drugs, even if effectiveness hasn’t been proven?
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Making these drugs available outside of clinical trials before they get FDA approval might run counter to federal law, but the measure contains legal protection for doctors and drug companies. Connelly says insurance companies and pharmacies may not be needed; these drugs may be sold for cash directly from the manufacturer to the patients.