COLUMBIA, S.C. (Feb. 5, 2022) – A bill introduced in the South Carolina House would expand the state’s “Right to Try” law to allow patients who contract a contagious disease to try a wide range of treatments.
A coalition of six Republicans introduced House Bill 4858 (H4858) on Jan. 25. Under the proposed law, a patient “who contracts a contagious or infectious disease that could result in a declared epidemic or pandemic disease” can, in consultation with a healthcare provider, “discuss and consider all treatment modalities available for such an illness.”
“These modalities must include all treatments presently approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, as well as medications that have passed adequate peer-reviewed analysis and are published in established peer-reviewed journals.”
During the coronavirus pandemic, the FDA effectively blocked the use of some treatments for coronavirus, including ivermectin and chloroquine. The passage of H4858 would open the door for doctors to prescribe such treatments in South Carolina.
H4858 includes legal protection for healthcare providers.
“A health care provider who in good faith recommends and treats an eligible patient pursuant to this section, and a pharmacist who fills and dispenses repurposed medications prescribed pursuant to this section, are not by an act or omission subject to civil or criminal liability or subject to professional disciplinary action, including license suspension or revocation or financial penalties, for any damages suffered by the eligible patient or for recommending, treating, prescribing, or dispensing treatment modalities that have passed adequate peer-reviewed analysis and are published in established peer-reviewed journals.”
H4858 builds on the South Carolina Right to Try law passed in 2016.
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act prohibits general access to experimental drugs and treatments. 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. RIght to Try allows terminally ill patients to bypass the expanded access provision and obtain experimental drugs from manufacturers without first obtaining FDA approval.
Congress passed a federal Right to Try law in 2018 after 40 states enacted laws allowing terminally ill patients to effectively bypass the FDA and try experimental treatments without federal permission.
H4858 was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary where it must receive a hearing and pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.