Pa. House OKs ‘right to try’ drugs not approved by FDA

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The state House of Representatives has passed legislation that would allow the terminally ill to use drugs not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

House Bill 45 would allow manufacturers to make experimental drugs and medical devices available to terminally ill patients after the product successfully complete the first phase of a clinical trial.

Rep. Robert Godshall (R-Montgomery) said under his proposal, physicians could not be held liable for recommending the products to eligible patients.

The bill does not require insurers to cover the products.

“The FDA approval process is often too slow to save patients suffering from terminal illness,” Godshall said in a statement. “Faced with certain death, terminally ill patients do not have the luxury of time. If they want to try medications that have not completed the rigorous FDA testing and approval process, they should be permitted to make that choice.”

Godshall said 31 other states have so-called “right-to-try” laws.

He said his legislation passed by a unanimous vote in the House last year, but it did not come up for a vote in the Senate.

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