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Promise Kept: President Trump’s Landmark ‘Right to Try’ Legislation Curbs Government’s Monopoly on Medicine for Terminally Ill Patients

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In a signing ceremony on Wednesday, President Trump fulfilled another campaign promise by signing legislation nicknamed “Right to Try” that will expand seriously ill patients’ access to experimental treatments that could extent or even save their lives.

Mr. Trump called the measure a “fundamental freedom” for people with terminal conditions to use medicines that have not yet completed the approval process of the Food and Drug Administration, but nonetheless show promise in their initial testing.

“With the ‘Right to Try’ Law I am signing today, patients with life-threatening illnesses will finally have access to experimental treatments that could improve or even cure their conditions,” President Trump said.

The bill was passed by the House of Representatives last week largely along party lines, with Republicans backing the measure – saying it could give hope to people looking to save their own lives – while Democrats opposed the the bill, citing such a law would engender ‘false hope.’

Similar laws have been passed in all but ten states with broad support by both parties – an uncomfortable fact many Democrats will have to explain as they return home for the campaign season.

As Marc Thiessen wrote in the Washington Post Wednesday, “In the states, Right to Try has not been a partisan issue. The first 24 state legislatures approved the bills by a collective vote of 3,045 to 26. In most instances, it passed without a single dissenting vote. The issue brought together politicians who never worked together on any other issue.”

He added:

In other words, Democrats in Washington managed to take an issue that unified literally thousands of legislators from both parties in 40 states, and turned it into a divisive, party-line vote. Thanks to Trump, Americans facing terminal diagnoses will now have a new chance at life. How tragic — and pathetic — that Democrats refused to join him in making that happen.

President Trump was a consistent source of support throughout his run for the White House in 2016, and in the State of the Union address in January, he reiterated his support, saying, “People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure — I want to give them a chance right here at home. It is time for the Congress to give these wonderful Americans the ‘right to try.'”

In the final bill that was signed Wednesday, patients will be able to take advantage of the ‘right to try’ provisions only after exhausting treatment options using drugs already approved by U.S. regulators.

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