Helena, Mon. (Feb. 2, 2015) – A bill passed unanimously by the Montana Senate today would effectively nullify some Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules that prevent treatments from being used by terminally ill patients.
Senate Bill 142 (SB142) was introduced by Sen. Cary Smith as the Montana Right to Try Act on Jan. 13. The bill was quickly moved to a hearing and executive session vote in the Senate Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Safety, where it passed 7-0. And today, the Montana Senate took the measure up, passing it unanimously, 47-0.
According to the sponsor, Sen. Smith, there was widespread support for his bill, with over 70 co-sponsors, and many of those “getting on board early.”
If passed into law, a patient suffering from a terminal disease attested to by a physician and who has considered all other approved treatment options would be able to try experimental treatments or drugs not yet approved by the FDA, effectively nullifying this narrow, but important set of federal restrictions.
SB142 also prohibits any state official, employee, or agent from blocking or attempting to block an eligible patient’s access to an investigational product. In other words, if the FDA wants to stop this from happening in Montana, they won’t be able to rely on help from the state, which is usually the case with enforcement actions.
Physicians are protected under the bill as well. SB142 prohibits any licensing board from taking action to revoke, suspend, sanction, fail to renew, or take any other action against a physician’s license solely based on such physician’s recommendation, prescription, or treatment of an eligible patient with an investigational product.
SB142 makes up part of a greater trend promoting medical freedom 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, not permitted under the FDA.
Legislatures in Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, and Louisiana, have already passed Right to Try Laws similar to the Arizona amendment, and more than 20 states are considering such measures in 2015, with the Wyoming Senate passing a similar measure unanimously last week.
Although these laws only address one small aspect of FDA regulation, they provide us with a clear model demonstrating how to nullify federal statutes that violate the Constitution. The strategy narrows the influence of nullification to limited aspects of the law itself. The strategy works because it focuses on ending specific federal policies large numbers of Americans from across the political spectrum oppose.
SB142 now moves to the state House, where it will first need to pass out of a yet-to-be-determined committee before the House has an opportunity to send it to the Governor’s desk.
In Montana: Support this bill by following the action steps at THIS LINK
In Other States: Take the steps to get a similar bill passed in your state at this link.
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