On Wednesday, President Trump signed the “Right to Try” Act into law, effectively giving permission to America’s terminally ill community to try experimental medications in an effort to heal their sicknesses. The law will allow terminally ill patients to have access to drugs that have cleared the preliminary testing phase of their trials, but have yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
S. 204, the “Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn, and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act of 2017,” which authorizes certain patients to seek access to certain unapproved investigational drugs directly from a drug sponsor or manufacturer; limits the use of clinical outcomes and liability arising from the provision of such drugs; and provides reporting requirements for the use and outcomes of the new authority.
The President and Vice President Pence have both been strong supporters of the Act, and were both proud to see it become law.
The “Right to Try” Act had been supported by thousands of legislators on the right and the left, across the country, but when it came to a vote in Congress the GOP was forced to pass the law without help from the Democrat Party! The Act was also opposed by “Big Pharma,” which should make the Democrats stand against the law even more egregious to their anti-corporation voters. There really is no reason for the Democrats to have opposed the Act, other than the fact that it was being wholeheartedly supported by President Trump.
On Wednesday, President Trump spoke about the importance of the “Right to Try” law and what it means for our citizens.
Partial Transcript (See the entire transcript at the White House website):
This is — to me, this is a very important moment, a very important day. Been looking forward to this for a long time, along with Senator Ron Johnson. And I will tell you, we worked hard on this. I never understood why it was hard.
They’ve been trying to have it passed for years. I never understood why. Because I’d see people — friends of mine, and other people I’d read about, where they’d travel all over the world looking for a cure. And we have the best medical people in the world, but we have trials and we long time — 12 years, 15 years. Even when things look really promising, so many years. And I never understood why they didn’t do this. And we worked very hard.
And I want to thank Vice President Pence for helping us so much. Mike was in there, and I’d say, “Mike, how we doing? We got to get it approved.” And he was — he was really working it. And in my State of the Union Address, four months ago, I called on Congress to pass Right to Try. It’s such a great name. Some bills, they don’t have a good name. (Laughter.) Okay? They really don’t. But this is such a great name, from the first day I heard it. It’s so perfect. Right to Try.
And a lot of that trying is going to be successful. I really believe that. I really believe it.
So we did it. And we went through the Senate, we went through the House. The House had a bill. The Senate had a bill. We’d go and mesh them together. We got to go back and take votes. And I said, do me a favor — tell me, which is the better bill for the people? Not for the insurance company, not for the pharmaceutical companies. I don’t care about them. I really don’t. I couldn’t care less. (Applause.)
And that’s the bill I — I won’t tell you which one. But I took the one that was — (laughter) — they said one in particular was great for the people. Not so good for the others, but great for the people. We don’t care about the others right now. And it’s giving terminally ill patients the right to try experimental lifesaving treatments. And some of these treatments are so promising.
And we’re moving that timeline way up anyway, beyond this. We’re moving it way up. But it’s still a process that takes years. Now it takes up to 15 years; even 20 years, some of these treatments are going. But for many years, patients, advocates, and lawmakers have fought for this fundamental freedom. And as I said, incredibly, they couldn’t get it. And there were reasons. A lot of it was business. A lot of it was pharmaceuticals. A lot of it was insurance. A lot of it was liability. I said, so you take care of that stuff. And that’s what we did.
Today I’m proud to keep another promise to the American people as I sign the Right to Try legislation into law…
Each year, thousands of terminally ill patients suffer while waiting for new and experimental drugs to receive final FDA approval. It takes a long time, and the time is coming down. While we were streamlining and doing a lot of streamlining, the current FDA approval process can take, as Scott just said, many years — many, many years. And for countless patients, time, it’s not what they have. They don’t have an abundance of time.
With the Right to Try law I’m signing today, patients with life-threatening illnesses will finally have access to experimental treatments that could improve or even cure their conditions. These are experimental treatments and products that have shown great promise, and we weren’t able to use them before. Now we can use them. And oftentimes they’re going to be very successful. It’s an incredible thing.
The Right to Try also offers new hope for those who either don’t qualify for clinical trials or who have exhausted all available treatment options. There were no options, but now you have hope. You really have hope.
Matthew Bellina, who is here with us, is just one example of many Americans who today has new cause for hope. Due to the late progression of Matt’s ALS, he doesn’t qualify for any clinical trials in the United States. He wouldn’t qualify; couldn’t do it. They tried; he didn’t qualify.
Despite his limited mobility and budget, he was planning on traveling thousands of miles away, to Israel, to receive a treatment that is still awaiting FDA approval in America. No one in Matt’s position should ever have to travel from our great country to another continent or another country to receive a treatment.
Now, with the passage of this bill, Americans will be able to seek cures right here at home, close to their family and their loved ones. We are finally giving these wonderful Americans the right to try. So important. (Applause.)
America has always been a nation of fighters who never give up. Right? We never give up, ever. Right? Never give up. We’re fighters, like the amazing patients and families here today.
Now, as I proudly sign — and this is very personal for me. But as I proudly sign this bill, thousands of terminally ill Americans will finally have the help, the hope, and the fighting chance — and I think it’s going to be better than chance — that they will be cured, that they will be helped, that they’ll be able to be with their families for a long time or maybe just for a longer time. But we’re able to give them the absolute best, as to what we have at this current moment, at this current second. And now, we’re going to help a lot of people. We’re going to help a lot of people.