Rep. Morrissette’s ‘right to try’ bill clears Oklahoma House, heads to Senate

OKLAHOMA CITY Tuesday (March 3), the House of Representatives passed House Bill 1074, the Oklahoma Right to Try Act, sponsored by Rep. Richard Morrissette (D) with a unanimous 96-0 vote.

Right to Try gives terminally ill patients the right to try investigational medicines that have passed the first phase of FDA approval but still may be years away from reaching pharmacy shelves.

Terminally ill people don’t have time to wait for new drugs to make their way through the decade-long approval process. 

Right to Try lets patients work directly with their doctors to access promising investigational medicines now, said Rep Morrissette.

According to a House staff press release, Right to Try is already law in Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, and Missouri, where it passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. 

Twenty-eight states in addition to Oklahoma are considering the law this year. Rep. Morrissette worked with the Goldwater Institute, which is leading the nationwide effort, to draft H.B. 1074

The Institute is a free-market think tank based in Arizona.

The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a process that allows people to seek permission to access investigational medicines. 

This Compassionate Use process takes more than 100 hours of paperwork and time to navigate. While many people ultimately receive FDA permission, there are dozens of documented cases of people dying while waiting on their approval.

Dying people shouldn’t have to ask the government for permission to try to save their own lives, said Rep. Morrissette. They should be able to work with their doctors directly to decide what potential treatments they are willing to try.

The bill now moves on to the Oklahoma State Senate.