TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (March 11, 2015) – A Florida House subcommittee unanimously approved a bill this week that would nullify in practice some Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules that prevent terminally ill patients from accessing treatments.

Rep. Raymond Pilon (R-72) introduced House Bill 269 (H0269) on March 3. The Florida Right to Try Act, pushes back against the FDA and their controversial methodology of withholding experimental treatments from people on their deathbed. The House Health Innovation Subcommittee passed the bill unanimously by a 12-0 margin yesterday and now heads to the House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee for further consideration.

HB269 would allow 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. The patient must give written, informed consent before undergoing the treatment, and the legislation provides an extensive definition of “informed consent.”

Medical practitioners, along with producers of experimental drugs and other health professionals are protected under the bill as well. It reads, in part:

There shall be no liability on the part of, and no cause of action of any nature shall arise against, any person, including a physician, pharmacist, manufacturer, or distributor, who possesses, stores, or administers an investigational drug, biological product, or device in compliance with this section.

HB269 makes up part of a greater trend 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, Arkansas, 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. Similar bills have also passed both chambers in Montana, Virginia, Utah and Wyoming, with action from the Governor in each state expected soon.

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.

The bill represents a positive first step to help terminally-ill patients from FDA restrictions that can kill.

In Florida: 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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