Right-to-Try Law takes effect in Oklahoma
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Published: 31-Oct-2015

OKLAHOMA CITY – A new Right to Try law will take effect Nov. 1, increasing the number of potentially life-saving treatments for terminally ill patients.

State Rep. Richard Morrissette, the author of House Bill 1074, said he looks forward to hearing the stories of terminally ill patients beating their condition as a result of the new law.

“Right to Try represents a medical milestone for Oklahoma victims of terminal illness who otherwise would find themselves out of options. Compassion is what we need for people who receive such a diagnosis,” said Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City.

“We need to think only of how we can expedite treatment and how to fit that treatment into an ever narrowing window of opportunity. Right to Try gives physicians and not the government the right to work with drug manufacturers to legally obtain, without fear of liability, potentially life-saving treatments ahead of the FDA process. I look forward to hearing success stories, as physicians and pharmaceutical companies become aware of their ‘right to try.’”

Sen. Rob. Standridge, R-Norman, pressed for the measure's passage in the Legislature's upper chamber.

The new law allows terminally ill patients to try medicines that have passed the first phase of approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but still remain years away from reaching pharmacy shelves.

In sum, 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.

As the proposal processed through the Legislature, it steadily gained unanimous support. 

According to a release from Rep. Morrissette, the Goldwater Institute of Arizona, “whose mission is to bring Right to Try to all states, holds the position that if one’s physician understands that the disease a patient has will ultimately kill them, but the investigational drug will not, it’s time to remove barriers that limit doctors from providing the care they are trained to give.”

At the Heartland Institute in Chicago, analyst Benjamin Domech has defended the right-to-try measures against scattered criticism that the measures could raise false hopes among critically-ill patients.

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