On Wednesday, President Trump signed a federal right-to-try bill into law with great fanfare, making extravagant claims for it. It’s time to reiterate one last time that right-to-try will not help terminally ill patients but it will strip important protections from them. It’s pure snake oil.
“Right-to-try” laws are a cruel sham that purport to allow terminally ill patients access to promising experimental drugs. In reality, they strip away many protections and leave vulnerable patients on their own. After four years and a number of toothless state laws, a federal version of “right-to-try” has passed Congress and is poised to become law. Once President Trump signs the bill this week, this federal version of “right-to-try” will leave terminally ill patients on their own and will likely be the first step in returning the FDA to its pre-thalidomide state, in which it only required evidence of safety, not efficacy, to approve drugs.