‘Right to try’ won’t improve outcomes -- Henry St. Maurice

June 5, 2018 GMT

I disagree with the recent “right to try” law.

Nearly 40 health care organizations sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, opposing the law. It stated, “Patients seeking expanded access to unapproved therapies outside of clinical trials must be afforded the same ethical standards and protections as patients taking part in clinical trials.” I support patient protections and oppose attempts to circumvent them.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, was recently quoted as saying, “This law intends to diminish the FDA’s power over people’s lives, not increase it.” I am opposed to diminishing the regulatory powers of an agency that has protected millions of lives for decades.

I doubt whether the “right to try” law will address serious issues of access and affordability in our health case systems, and am concerned it could reduce accountability and safety.

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As a parent of a child who had access to experimental procedures in clinical trials at UW Hospital, my experience was that informed caution was always offered instead of false hope. This law seems neither informed nor cautious. It’s an ideological posture instead of thoughtful reform.

Henry St. Maurice, Columbus