March 19, 2015 – Today, the Mississippi Senate and Indiana House gave final approval to bills that would effectively nullify in practice some FDA restrictions on terminally-ill patients. Both bills will now be sent to the Governor’s desk in each state for a signature.
Indiana House Bill 1065 (HB1065), introduced by Rep. Wes Culver, and Mississippi Senate Bill 2485 (SB2485), introduced by Sen. Josh Harkins, both titled the Right to Try Act, represent the latest pushback against the FDA and their controversial methodology of withholding experimental treatments from people even on their deathbed.
In Indiana, HB1065 passed 50-0 in the Senate and 92-0 in the House. The Mississippi Senate voted 48-3 on SB2485 and the House concurred with a 118-0 vote.
Should the Governors of each state sign the bills into 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.
“The Right to Try Act 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 and pharmacists are also protected under the bills, with a prohibition against revoking a license or issuing sanctions based on recommendation or issuance of such investigational treatments. SB2485 reads, in part:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, no state agency or regulatory board shall revoke, fail to renew, or take any other action against a physician’s license under Section 73-25-1 et seq., Mississippi Code of 1972, or against a pharmacist’s license under Section 73-21-71 et seq., Mississippi Code of 1972, based solely on the physician’s or pharmacist’s recommendation to an eligible patient regarding prescription for or treatment with an investigational drug, biological product or device.
HB1065 has similar language:
This section does not create a cause of action against a health care provider involved in connection with the use of an investigational drug, biological product, or device by a patient for any harm to the patient from the investigational drug, biological product, or device
These bills make 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, Wyoming, 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.
In Indiana, the governor must sign or veto legislation within 7 days of transmittal, or it becomes law without his signature. In Mississippi, the governor must sign or veto legislation within 5 days after transmittal (excluding Sunday), or it becomes law without his signature.
Supporters in each state are strongly urged to call the Governor’s office asking to sign the bill into law.
Track the status of similar legislation and take action in support at THIS LINK