In 2014, Missouri became the third state to enact a Right to Try law. The legislation, pioneered by the Goldwater Institute in Arizona, empowered terminally ill patients to take control over their care options by allowing them access to experimental medications without undue interference from state government. As I wrote in Forbes at the time, "Right to Try does not attempt to supersede or nullify federal laws in this area. It only clears the way from the state's perspective for RTT treatments to move forward." It was a common-sense law that we testified in support of and were delighted to see passed.
Well, the RTT movement has expanded since then. Today over thirty states have already enacted the law, and it looks like federal officials may be following suit very soon.
Indeed it hasn't. With a new Congress, bipartisan support, and a potentially supportive President, the prospects for a federal RTT statute passing are as good as they have ever been. If it does pass, it will be a win for patients across the country seeking greater control in the most precarious health situations imaginable. As we've said many times before, government should let people help their fellow Americans on terms largely or entirely unencumbered by state or federal bureaucracies. Right to Try laws are fundamentally designed to advance that end -- and to offer hope to the most vulnerable among us.
It isn't clear when the federal Right to Try law is going to be debated and voted on this year. We'll update you as the legislation goes through the process.