WASHINGTON — Advocates of “right-to-try” laws — giving terminally ill patients wider latitude to try experimental treatments that have passed only basic safety tests — are taking another run at it. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, a Republican, has re-introduced his legislation. More than 40 of his fellow senators, including a few Democrats, have signed on.
Staffers at the Food and Drug Administration have opposed such proposals in the past. Officials there worry that “right to try” is a way of circumventing the agency’s regulatory authority. But this is now President Donald Trump’s Washington.
Giving an experimental drug to a terminally ill patient, we don’t know the outcome in advance. If its toxicity hastens patient death it is tantamount to assisted suicide. Therefore if we go the right to try route I suggest that the universal eligibility criteria for assisted suicide with stringent informed consent be applied. At the end of the day the real actors who run the show are the drug company lawyers and the potential legal ramifications make this one a non starter.
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