Congress Ignores Patient Safety Concerns, Passes Right-to-Try Legislation

May 22, 2018

Washington, D.C. – May 22, 2018 – The House of Representatives passed legislation today that, if signed into law, will create a process for accessing experimental drugs without including proper patient protections. The Senate Right-to-Try legislation (S. 204) was strongly opposed by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) along with more than 100 other patient and provider organizations representing millions of patients.

Despite a concerted effort from stakeholders to engage in a dialogue with lawmakers about how the bill could be improved to protect patients while still allowing them to access potentially life-saving medication and treatment, the House of Representatives passed the Senate version of the Right-to-Try Act that excludes critical patient safeguards.

A statement from Chris Hansen, president of ACS CAN follows:

“While ACS CAN supports patients’ rights to access timely medications and treatments that could be helpful to them, the particular legislation passed today risks undermining important patient safety considerations. Excluding experts at FDA from providing input on things like drug dosing, scheduling, and administration is not sound public policy.

“It was disappointing that calls from a wide array of patient advocacy groups to preserve critical patient protections provided by FDA were disregarded. Enactment of this legislation could do more harm than good to patients in the months and years to come, and we wish Congress would have taken a more deliberative approach to this nuanced issue.”



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