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Trump signs Right to Try Act, allowing terminally ill patients to attempt experimental drugs

President Donald Trump speaking in 2017 just outside Harrisburg. (Staff Sgt. Tony Harp/U.S. Air National Guard)

President Donald Trump signed the Right to Try Act into law on Wednesday.

The law would allow terminally ill patients to attempt experimental drugs that do not yet have approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Several members of the Alabama congressional delegation have been vocal proponents for passage of the legislation.

“I was proud to support the Right to Try Act and am pleased that President Trump has now signed it into law,” Congressman Gary Palmer, R-Hoover, said. “This important legislation grants critically or terminally ill patients needed access to experimental treatments that could save or prolong their lives. The time required for full clinical trials and the FDA’s approval processes is long, and gravely ill patients often do not have time to wait. I believe that patients, especially those that are terminally ill, should have the freedom to pursue treatment without barriers imposed by the FDA.”

“Patients shouldn’t have to give up their liberty, their freedom, their fight against terminal illness merely because the federal government says so,” Congressman Mo Brooks,  R-Huntsville, said in a statement. “Our ancestors fought the Revolutionary War to secure our freedom, yet, until now, patients who were 100% certain to die were denied the freedom to decide for themselves whether to try possibly life-saving experimental treatments. As a strong advocate for the Right to Try Act, I’m pleased the House passed this vital legislation yesterday so President Trump can now sign it into law.”

Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, said when the bill passed the House: “The House passed ‘Right to Try’ legislation, which would allow terminally ill patients to use experimental drugs that may not have gone through the full approval process. This is an issue President Trump highlighted in his State of the Union Address, and I am pleased the bill will now head to his desk to be signed into law.”

Trump signed the landmark legislation, S. 204, in a bill signing ceremony at the White House.

“They’ve been trying to have it passed for years,” Trump said. “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.

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“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.”

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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