GOOD POLICY: Trump Signs ‘Right To Try Act’

Despite what the mainstream media or your local left wing nutjob has to say about the current President, Congress and the current Administration have been responsible for some excellent policy achievements during President Trump’s first term. Among them is H.R. 878, more commonly known as the ‘Right to Try Act of 2017’. This bill authorizes the use of unapproved medical products by patients diagnosed with a terminal illness in accordance with State law, and for other purposes.”[1]

The FDA is a department that is responsible for regulating the safety and effectiveness of new prescription drugs. Due to the 1962 Amendments, the FDA operates under “proof of efficacy” regulation whereby they are allowed unlimited time and resources before releasing a new drug to market. The government spends approximately $1 Billion, (that’s billion with a ‘B’), per new drug researched. It also takes on average 7-10 years for a new drug to be approved for public consumption.[2] This process guarantees that the risk of taking prescription medication is significantly lowered, and that they work when consumed. The fact is, lives are saved because unsafe drugs are kept off the market, but the regulatory process delays (or even prevents) the introduction of some safe and efficacious drugs, thereby costing lives.[3] This bill is an attempt to solve that issue by recognizing a patient’s right to engage in experimental drug treatment. Miller explains the significance of this piece of legislation by stating, “…people have been victims of what is called Type II error. Their cost is pain, suffering, and death that occur because the 1962 Amendments have prevented the introduction of safe, efficacious drugs. Type II error – as with Septra or Beta blockers- occurs when a drug should be introduced but is held back by FDA regulation.[4]

The bill essentially declares that the Federal government cannot restrict or prohibit an individual from pursuing experimental treatment. It also states that “no liability shall lie against manufacturers, distributors, prescribers, dispensers, possessors, or users of an experimental drug.”[5]  The issues of accessibility and liability are both addressed in this piece of legislation.  Overall, this is a win in terms of policy for the Trump Administration and for those suffering from terminal illnesses. Unfortunately, in their campaign to find fault in everything the President does, critics argue that this is nothing but “feel good” legislation and that it doesn’t accomplish anything. This claim is false. Right to Try laws give people with terminal illnesses the legal right to investigational medication, thus eliminating the waiting process often associated with experimental drugs. Given the nature of their illness, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain from such medication. In response to those arguing that the FDA already grants expanded access to programs that allow access to experimental treatment: “while millions of Americans will be diagnosed with or die of terminal illnesses each year, compassionate use exceptions are only granted to about 1,200 patients a year. Many patients run out of time before they can qualify for the exemption or complete the process. Right to Try laws help patients get immediate access to the medical treatments they need before it’s too late.”[2]

You may not like the President, but this is good stuff. Any legislation that gets the Federal government out of the way of individual liberty and recognizes a person’s right to engage in a market free of government interference is good legislation.




[2] Miller. The Economics of Public Issues. Pp 4

[3] Ibid. Pp 5

[4] Ibid. Pp 5



[7] Ibid


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