Washington, D.C. — President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law a bill that will now allow terminally ill patients to bypass the FDA for access to experimental medications.
“People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure — I want to give them a chance right here at home,” said the president, who campaigned on the concept of compassionate care.
“Thousands of terminally ill Americans will finally have hope, and the fighting chance, and I think it’s going to better than a chance, that they will be cured, they will be helped, and be able to be with their families for a long time, or maybe just for a longer time,” Trump said while surrounded by terminally ill patients and their families at a bill signing ceremony at the White House Wednesday.
While most Republican House members supported the bill, many Democrats opposed it, claiming it offered “false hope” to patients who had exceeded most standard medical options.
“FDA oversight of access to experimental treatments exists for a reason — it protects patients from potential snake oil salesmen or from experimental treatments that might do more harm than good,” said Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Supporters of the legislation, however, say the law offers hope and has been a long time coming.
Supporters say, however, it will provide new treatment opportunities for terminally ill patients who have exhausted existing options.
“While a long time coming, today is a monumental win for patients desperately seeking the ‘right to try’ investigational treatments and therapies,” Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and health subcommittee chairman Michael Burgess (R-Texas) said of the president’s signing of the bill into law.
“With ‘right to try’ being the law of the land, we are confident that the Trump Administration, and FDA Commissioner [Scott] Gottlieb, will take both congressional intent and the safety of patients into consideration when implementing this important law.”