Frankly, it’s rather remarkable that we would need permission from our government for something like this. It just shows how much individual liberty we have ceded.
The Trickett Wendler Right to Try Act, authored by Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, would allow terminally ill patients to receive experimental drugs — which have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration — and where no alternative exists. There is a companion bill in the House.
With 40 Republicans and two Democrats co-sponsoring the legislation, Johnson plans to try to get the measure passed by unanimous consent, perhaps as early as Wednesday. The parliamentary maneuver is unlikely to succeed, since a single senator can block the request. But the issue probably won’t fade away.
“I want to create a sense of urgency around this,” said Wendler, who lives in Pewaukee with the couple’s three children. “The bill was introduced in May and here we are in September and we’re talking about procedural things. I’m a big boy. I understand how the process is drawn out. I would like the conversation to take place much, much sooner.”
Thirty-one states have passed right-to-try laws based on model legislation created by the Goldwater Institute, a libertarian think tank. Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly have a goal to pass such a bill in the upcoming session.
Supporters say such legislation enables those with terminal illnesses to access experimental drugs and new treatments early in the development pipeline. Eligible medications have to pass phase one of clinical trials.