OKLAHOMA CITY (March 10, 2015) – A bill that would nullify in practice some Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules that prevent terminally ill patients from accessing treatments unanimously passed the Oklahoma House last week.

Rep. Richard Morrissette (D-92), along with a bipartisan group of five other representatives, introduced House Bill 1074 (HB1074) last month. The Oklahoma Right to Try Act, pushes back against the FDA and their controversial methodology of withholding experimental treatments from people on their deathbed.

The bill passed the House 96-0 on March 3 and now moves to the state Senate for consideration.

HB1074 would allow patients suffering from a terminal disease, who have considered all other approved treatment options as attested to by a physician, to try experimental treatments or drugs not yet approved by the FDA, effectively nullifying this narrow, but important set of federal restrictions.

Health care providers who prescribe these drugs to patients are shielded from liability under HB1074. The text of the bill states that “a licensing board may not revoke, fail to renew, suspend or take any action against a health care provider’s license, based solely on the health care provider’s recommendations to an eligible patient regarding access to or treatment with an investigational drug, biological product or device, as long as the recommendations are consistent with medical standards of care.” The legislation also prohibits action against a health care provider’s Medicare certification based solely on the recommendation that a patient have access to an experimental medical treatment.

Manufacturers receive some protection from liability under the proposed law. HB1074 states that the law would not create a “private cause of action” against a manufacturer or others involved in care as long as they comply in good faith with the terms of the act.

HB1074 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, 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 passed the Utah, Virginia, Wyoming and Arkansas legislatures this month and await a signing decision by their governors.

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 Oklahoma: 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.

Mike Maharrey

The 10th Amendment

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