RICHMOND, Vir. (Feb. 9, 2015) – A bill passed unanimously by the Virginia Senate today would nullify in practice some Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules that prevent treatments from being used by terminally ill patients.
Senate Bill 732 (SB732) was introduced by Sen. William M. Stanley, Jr. (R-Moneta) as the Virginia Right to Try Act on Dec. 15. The bill was passed out of committee by a 14-0 vote on Feb. 5. And today, the full Virginia Senate took the measure up, passing it unanimously, 38-0.
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.
Physicians are protected under the bill as well. SB732 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.
SB732 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 state Senates in Montana, Wyoming, Arkansas and Mississippi passing similar measures this month.
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.
SB732 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 Virginia: 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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