CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Mar. 13, 2015) – A Wyoming bill that would nullify in practice some Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules that prevent terminally ill patients from accessing treatments was signed into law by Gov. Matt Mead on Monday.

Introduced by Sen. Bruce Burns (R-Sheridan), Senate File 3 (SF3), the Wyoming Right to Try Act, is the latest pushback against the FDA and their controversial methodology of withholding experimental treatments from people even on their deathbed. It passed the House by a vote of 58-1 and the Senate, 28-1.

Under the new law, a patient suffering from a terminal disease attested to by a physician and who has considered all other approved treatment options will be able to try experimental treatments or drugs not yet approved by the FDA, effectively nullifying this narrow, but important set of federal restrictions.

“This new law is a no-brainer,” said Mike Maharrey of the Tenth Amendment Center. “When someone is on their deathbed, the fact that FDA regulations would let them die rather than try, has got to be one of the most inhumane policies of the federal government. Every state should nullify the FDA like this.”

 

Physicians are protected under the bill as well. SF3 reads in part:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Wyoming state board of medicine shall not revoke, fail to renew, suspend or take any other action against a physician’s license issued pursuant to W.S. 33-26-101 et seq., based solely on the physician’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.

SF3 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.

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.

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