More than a third of Texas’ state senators have offered support of a bill allowing terminal patients to legally consume treatments that have only passed the first of three FDA trial phases.
The Texas Tribune reports on the so-called ‘Right to Try’ bill, noting the five states have passed similar legislation already. The FDA does have a “compassionate use” program that allows the terminally ill to try certain unapproved drugs. But, as the Tribune notes, only about 1,000 patients take the feds up on their offer each year. The Texas bill would give terminally ill patients access once they’ve tried all other avenues.
Critics say forgoing the FDA approval process would put patients at risk. Its supporters, including some of the 11 legislators who have signed their names to the bill, say so what—these patients may not be alive by the time the FDA approves the drug. “Why,” asked state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, “is government standing in the way of a potential cure?”