A bill prefiled in Kansas for 2015 would effectively nullify some Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules that prevent treatments from being used by terminally ill patients.
House Bill 2004 (HB2004), the Kansas Right to Try Act, authored by State Reps. Brett Hildabrand (R-Shawnee), Mike Kiegerl (R-Olathe) and Craig McPherson (R-Overland Park), is the latest pushback against the FDA and their controversial methodology of approving drugs for mass consumption.
HB2004 is based off of model legislation offered by the Goldwater Institute. Their model legislation states that “a manufacturer of an investigational drug, biological product, or device may make available and an eligible patient may request the manufacturer’s investigational drug, biological product, or device” as long as the patient has a terminal illness and passes other requirements. The actual language for HB2004 is currently unavailable, but it is expected to be very similar to the Goldwater Institute’s version.
“This is a personal freedom issue. If you have been essentially been given a death sentence from a terminal illness, how dare the government stop you from that treatment,” Rep. Hildabrand said in a Celock Report article about HB2004. “If it is tied up in government bureaucracy you and I would want every option we have to fight terminal illness.”
Rep. Hildabrand’s sentiments in favor of medical freedom and choice are being echoed in state legislatures throughout the country. HB2004 is apart of a greater trend promoting medical freedom that is sweeping the nation. During this most recent November election, Arizona residents approved Prop. 303, known as the Arizona Terminal Patients’ Right to Try Referendum. The proposition allows investigational drugs, biological products or devices to be made available to eligible terminally ill patients, which are not permitted under the FDA. Prop. 303 is similar to laws passed in Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, and Louisiana, known as “Right to Try” laws.
These laws, though they deal with a small aspect of the FDA’s regulations, provides us with a clear model of how to nullify federal laws that violate the Constitution by narrowing the influence of nullification to limited aspects of the law itself.
The effectiveness of such nullification laws rests in the obvious logic behind them; dying people should not be deprived of their right to any means that might ease their pain or keep them alive, and it is extremely difficult for opponents to argue that dying people should be forced to use only drugs approved of by bureaucrats who are incapable of empathizing with their possible suffering.
In Louisiana, for example, the law received 80 percent approval, according to one survey. In three of the states that have passed “Right to Try” laws, not a single politician voted nay. In Michigan, the entire state House voted yea with no abstentions, while only two senators voted against it.
These types of laws are necessary because of the cumbersome bureaucratic process deployed by the FDA. It can take more than a decade and a billion dollars to get new medications on the market, according to Lucy Caldwell, communications director for the Goldwater Institute.
One such example is that of Mikaela Knapp, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer.
According to a World Net Daily report:
She and her husband, Keith, launched a social media campaign to lobby drug firms and the FDA to give her access to a new gene therapy. Their efforts gained national attention and generated 200,000 signatures on a petition at Change.org but failed to win access to the treatment. The 25-year-old newlywed died April 24.
Under a free market (and if the feds adhered to the Constitution) the therapy would have been available for Knapp already. She would not have had to seek anyone’s permission, which she died waiting for.
This is simply unacceptable. Whatever the dangers inherent in trying experiment drugs, this is a decision that should rest solely with the person consuming the drug, not busybodies, do-gooders, or sanctimonious control freaks.
There may be those who reject the nullification method and opt instead to work within the system in D.C., but they shouldn’t get their hopes up. In 2003, a federal judge ruled that terminally ill people do not have a right to access to investigational medicine. Not surprisingly, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider an appeal on that ruling.
That is why bills such as HB2004 are so important. Because federal regulatory agencies and courts refuse to show compassion for terminally ill patients, we must step up at the state level to help them. It is truly a matter of life and death.
For Kansas: Contact your State Representative and politely urge them to co-sponsor HB2004. Afterwards, contact your State Senator and politely urge them to introduce similar legislation to HB2004 in their chamber. Feel free to contact more of your state legislators and urge them to co-sponsor and support HB2004 as well. You can find their contact information HERE.
For other states: Contact your state legislators and urge them to introduce ‘Right to Try’ legislation similar to HB2004 in Kansas. You can find their contact information HERE.