A lot of our work goes on behind the scenes. As a result, it can often go unnoticed. So, it’s nice when the legislators and other elected officials we work with acknowledge the effort we put in. That happened recently when Alaska Gov. Bill Walker invited me to the bill signing ceremony for the Alaska Right to Try bill.

I worked very closely with Rep. Jason Grenn’s office for more than 18 months to help get HB43 passed. The new law gives terminally ill patients access to medicines not yet given final approval for use by the FDA.

On July 13, Alaska became the 41st state to pass Right to Try legislation that effectively nullifies in practice an FDA policy that denied access to drugs that had not gone through the entire agency approval process. The right to try movement was so successful at the state level that Donald Trump recently signed a federal Right to Try Act into law. That would have never happened without state action.

Grenn introduced HB43 back in January 2017. In both the House and the Senate bills must pass through a grueling process including multiple committee votes before they even get the floor for a vote. I testified in support of the bill at several committee hearings, and I also provided some messaging support along the way.

It was nice of Rep. Grenn’s office to acknowledge our efforts and put me on the invite list for the signing ceremony, and I appreciate the invitation. Unfortunately, traveling to Alaska wasn’t in the cards.

Mike Maharrey

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