SANTA FE ― The House Judiciary Committee has unanimously approved House Bill 228, known as the “Right to Try Act.”
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Rebecca Dow (R-Grant, Hidalgo and Sierra). It had been amended by a previous committee to include aspects of House Bill 263, a similar Right to Try bill sponsored by Rep. Jane Powdrell-Culbert (R-Sandoval).
The Right to Try Act would establish a process through which terminally ill patients could access new medications that have not yet been fully approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). The bill sets eligibility requirements for terminally ill patients to petition for approval to receive these experimental treatments, including a doctor’s recommendation and informed consent.
Although the FDA has a “compassionate use” program to provide terminally ill patients access to investigational treatments and medications, the process is onerous and it can take up to one hundred hours just to complete the application. The FDA only grants around 1,000 compassionate use exceptions every year. In response, thirty-one states have adopted Right to Try laws to make it easier for terminally ill individuals to obtain these drugs.
“Individuals should have the opportunity to try any available treatment options to prolong their lives,” Dow said. “This bill preserves a person’s right to pursue life. It promotes hope and it also demonstrates compassion to those patients battling grave illnesses. I’m pleased to see it continue to advance through the process.”
House Bill 228 now goes to the full House of Representatives for debate.