SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Mar. 3, 2015) – Today, the Utah state House gave final approval to a bill that would nullify in practice some Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules that prevent treatments from being used by terminally ill patients. The vote was 69-3 and the bill now moves to Gov. Herbert’s desk for a signature.
Introduced by Rep. Gage Froerer, House Bill 94 (HB94), the Utah 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.
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. HB94 reads in part:
A physician, other licensed health care provider, or hospital that treats an eligible patient with an investigational drug or investigational device under this chapter may not, for any harm done to the eligible patient by the investigational drug or device, be subject to civil liability, criminal liability, or licensure sanctions
HB94 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.
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.
HB94 will now move to the Governor’s desk for approval.
In Utah: 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.