For many people suffering from terminal diseases with no cure, any possibility of a treatment or life-extending procedure seems worth the risks. Although few of us would be willing to test a risky, unproven treatment without government approval under normal circumstances, the desperate circumstances of those dying of these terrible illnesses make any experimental treatment worth the risk.
Under “Right to Try” legislation, terminally ill patients who have exhausted all other options are given the opportunity to try experimental drugs, products, and devices that have not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
This type of legislation has already been passed in 21 states, and now is being considered in California. Both chambers have similar bills that have been passed in respective chambers through Senate Bill 149 and Assembly Bill 159. It is likely that the two bills will be combined into a single piece of legislation that will reach Governor Jerry Brown’s desk this year. It is unknown whether or not he intends to sign it.
Despite the positive potential benefits of Right to Try laws, such legislation remains controversial in California. Many people, especially in the medical community, say that such laws only offer false hope to the terminally ill while encouraging risky, often painful treatments. Others object to the bill on moral grounds. Still, no matter what side of the debate you fall on, there is a good chance you may see such legislation become law in the near future.
What Might Right to Try Legislation Mean For Me?
If Right to Try legislation is passed, it is unclear what kind of impact such a law will actually have on residents here in California. For patients and their families, this law would potentially open new avenues for treatment and give hope to the terminally ill. Unfortunately, whether or not such options will really come to be is still unclear.
Neither bill proposed forces drug manufacturers to provide potential treatment, no does it require health insurance to cover unproven treatments, which could limit access to such treatments regardless of legality. The only promise this bill does make is that neither terminally ill patients nor their doctors could be prosecuted for trying treatments with potential, whether it has been approved for general use or not. For some patients, this chance is enough.
In the meantime, currently approved FDA treatments and medical marijuana are the only drugs that can be used by the terminally ill without prosecution. If you are curious to learn more about your legal options concerning medical marijuana and other drug treatments, call experienced marijuana attorney Jessica McElfresh at (858) 756-7107 today for a free consultation.