PHOENIX, November 4, 2014 – By a huge margin today, voters in Arizona approved a ballot measure that defies some FDA restrictions on drugs for extremely sick patients, effectively nullifying the unconstitutional federal agency in this narrow, but important, area.
Prop. 303, known as the Arizona Terminal Patients’ Right to Try Referendum, now allows investigational drugs, biological products or devices to be made available to eligible terminally ill patients. The term “investigational” refers to medical treatments that have completed phase one of a clinical trial but have not yet been approved for general use by the Food and Drug Administration and remain under investigation in clinical trials. This means that these FDA rules will be partially nullified in the state. The measure passed by a 78-22% margin.
Prop. 303 made it on the ballot through House Concurrent Resolution 2005 (HCR2005). The Arizona state House and Senate passed the resolution earlier this year. HCR2005 states that “a manufacturer of an investigational drug, biological product or device may make available the manufacturer’s investigational drug, biological product or device to eligible patients.”
It was primarily sponsored by Rep. Phil Lovas(R-22), Rep. John Allen (R-15), Rep. Sonny Borrelli (R-5), Rep. Paul Boyer (R-20), Rep. Tom Forese (R-17), Rep. Adam Kwasman (R-11), Rep. David Livingston (R-22), Rep. Ethan Orr (R-9), Rep. Lisa Otondo (D-4) and Rep. Carl Seel (R-20) in the House
Additional text now in state statute shields doctors from being reprimanded for prescribing experimental procedures to qualifying patients, and makes it a Class 1 Misdemeanor for state officials who refuse to comply with this law.
These developments in Arizona are reminiscent of the early days of the medical marijuana movement. When federal bureaucrats failed to reverse its policies and admit the medicinal effects of cannabis, California took matters into its own hands. Medical marijuana was first authorized for the seriously ill in the Golden State. When the public saw evidence of its effectiveness, its application was expanded from there. Now, 23 states allow for the use of medical marijuana despite federal prohibition.
Arizona joins Colorado and Louisiana, states that passed similar laws this year.
We see a new trend is developing – legislators and activists utilizing nullification to solve societal problems rather than waiting on Washington D.C. to fix things. This measure may well create a ripple effect leading to more local and state control on not just health care, but also many other important issues as well.
Prop. 303 read as follows on the Arizona ballot:
Use Of Investigational Drugs, Biological Products And Devices
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION ENACTING AND ORDERING THE SUBMISSION TO THE PEOPLE OF A MEASURE RELATING TO THE USE OF INVESTIGATIONAL DRUGS, BIOLOGICAL PRODUCTS AND DEVICES
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