McIlhinney Bill Would Expand Treatment Options for Terminally Ill Patients

HARRISBURG – Patients who suffer from a terminal illness could soon pursue a broader range of treatment options under legislation introduced today by Senator Chuck McIlhinney (R-10).

McIlhinney’s legislation, Senate Bill 569, would allow eligible patients who have a terminal illness to use investigational drugs, biological products and devices not yet approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The legislation would only permit the use of treatment options that have passed Phase 1 of the FDA review process, but have not been approved for use outside of clinical trials. The treatments would only be available to patients who have a terminal illness or meet other qualifying requirements.

“The FDA’s approval process for experimental drugs and treatments can take several years, but patients who are dealing with a terminal illness do not have the luxury of time to wait,” McIlhinney said. “The FDA serves a critical function in protecting patients from ineffective or unsafe medications, but individuals who have critical health care needs — and few medical alternatives — deserve the right to explore potentially life-saving treatment options that are still mired in clinical trials.”

“The only obstacle to this bill is that many pharmaceutical companies may choose not to participate. If that happens then we have missed a great opportunity. On the other hand, the risk of not passing this bill is that a good drug may languish for 10-14 years in the FDA pipeline and countless Americans will die. Their lives will end without the chance to exercise their Constitutional freedom to make choices regarding their life, liberty, and their own pursuit of happiness, said Matt Bellina – ALS Warrior, Former Navy Pilot.

“The Newtown Athletic Club’s “Have A Heart Foundation” is leading the charge to support the Right to Try Bill both in Pennsylvania and in Washington DC for the sake of the 30 million Americas with a terminal illness who could benefit from the right to try experimental drugs more easily and quickly.  We believe all terminally ill Americans deserve hope to possibly save their own lives without interference from overbearing and antiquated FDA regulations.  The FDA serves as a critical safeguard in our system, but it is time to recognize the importance of modern bio technological advances in drug development by streamlining FDA regulations to recognize the needs of terminally ill patients.   This concept of this bill crosses all party lines as it will touch the lives of hundreds of millions of suffering Americans either directly or indirectly.” Said Jim Worthington, Founder, NAC “Have A Heart Foundation”

The “Right to Try” bill mirrors legislation that has already been approved in 31 states.

CONTACT: Heather Cevasco (215) 489-5000