The following is testimony I delivered March 2 before the Alaska Senate Health and Social Services Committee on “Right to Try” legislation (HB43).
The Tenth Amendment Center has supported Right to Try legislation pretty much since the beginning. We call it our “no brainer issue,” because it’s just hard to oppose it. That’s why it has passed by huge margins in 33 states.
Laws and regulations and supposed to protect the people. Unfortunately, by their very nature, regulatory schemes also tend to create bureaucracy and red tape that can cause harm. Even if the FDA expanded use program meets the needs of some patients, it doesn’t even start address the black hole between the end of clinical trials and final approval of a treatment. This process can take up to 10 months, and that leaves patients in limbo. Between the end of clinical trials and final approval, they really don’t have any alternatives. This was the situation more than 70 cancer patients in Texas found themselves in. They benefited from the state stepping in and closing that gap through Right to Try – as you have heard in previous testimony.
This type of legislation illustrates the beauty of our federated structure. The American system was never intended to run based on one-size-fits all solutions imposed from Washington D.C. We all intuitively understand the dangers of monopoly when it comes to economics. Those same dangers exist in monopoly government. It’s not that the FDA intentionally tries to keep medicine away from sick people. It’s just that this federal agency is overwhelmed and driven by its own institutional pressures. Right to Try is a perfect example of states using their rightful authority to exercise control over local issues. As James Madison wrote in Federalist #45, the realm of state government includes “those objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people.”
Access to treatments and medications for the desperately ill certainly falls within that category.
If Right to Try helps even one Alaskan patient, it’s worth putting this legislation on the books.
With this in mind, I encourage you to vote yes on HB43.
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