The House of Delegates today passed Del. Margaret Ransone’s House Bill 1750, which expands access to investigational drugs for terminally ill patients. The measure passed with broad bipartisan support.
Speaking about the legislation, Del. Ransone (R-Kinsale) said, “This legislation was inspired by the Hardy family’s #SaveJosh campaign, as they fought to get their seven year old boy access to a lifesaving treatment that wasn’t yet approved by the FDA. Josh eventually got the treatment and he’s looking forward to celebrating his ninth birthday next month, but this fight isn’t just his and it’s not over. This legislation will give other families who have exhausted all other treatment options the opportunity to access developmental drugs that could save the life of their loved ones.”
“Josh’s fight has helped inspire action to expand access for developmental drugs, but he’s not fighting alone,” said House Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford). “I have heard heartbreaking stories from families and patients struggling to get access to a potentially life-saving treatment and sometimes, tragically failing. This legislation will help them in their fight, and I’m proud to support it.”
Josh’s mom Aimee Hardy said, “We are so hopeful that this legislation might help families in critical need of investigational drugs. No family should have to suffer a loss if there is a drug in existence that could make a difference.”
Right to try legislation offers the opportunity for terminally ill patients, under the supervision of their physician, to receive experimental drugs. This bill provides that access only if the drug has successfully completed phase one of a clinical trial process. The patient must be defined terminally ill by his or her treating physician and confirmed by a second physician not previously involved with the patient’s treatment.
The legislation does not mandate the manufacturer to provide the experimental drug. It allows the physician and the patient to go straight to the manufacturer when time is critical. This would be an option only after all FDA-approved treatment options had been exhausted and the treating physician and second physician not previously involved agree that the experimental drug is a preferable option.