A Nevada bill that would nullify in practice some Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules that prevent terminally ill patients from accessing treatments was passed unanimously through a state Assembly committee on Monday.
Introduced by Assemblyman James Ohrenschall (D-12) along with 15 bipartisan co-sponsors, Assembly Bill 164 (AB164), the Nevada 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. The bill passed through the Assembly Health and Human Services with a ‘do pass’ vote on March 30.
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act prohibits general access to experimental drugs. However, under the expanded access provision of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. 360bbb, patients with serious or immediately life-threatening diseases may access experimental drugs after receiving express FDA approval. AB164 bypasses the FDA expanded access program and allows patients to obtain experimental drugs from manufacturers without obtaining FDA approval. This procedure directly conflicts with the federal expanded access program and effectively nullifies it in practice.
Physicians who prescribe experimental procedures and treatments are also protected under the bill. AB164 reads, in part:
A physician is not subject to disciplinary action for prescribing or recommending an investigational drug, biological product or device when authorized to do so.
“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.”
Thirteen other states have already passed Right to Try Laws similar to AB164, 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.
Now that it has passed through its committee assignment successfully, the bill is expected to receive a full vote in the general Assembly.
For Nevada: Take action to support this bill HERE.
For other states: Take the steps to get a similar bill passed in your state at THIS LINK.