Terminally Ill Texans Given A Better Chance to Fight and Win

SB 694, The Andrea Sloan “Right to Try” Legislation to be heard in committee Wednesday, March 18th at 8:00 am in the Senate Chamber
Austin – Senator Paul Bettencourt filed SB 694, the “Right to Try” legislation, Monday.  On the first day, 1/3 of the Senate had already signed on in bi-partisan support of the bill. The bill will be laid out, and testimony will be given, before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday.

“Let’s get government out of the way if a patient and a doctor want to have the ‘Right to Try’ drugs and treatments in terminally ill situations,” said Senator Bettencourt.

Under current law, the FDA has a compassionate use exception policy that allows for terminally ill patients to receive drugs and treatments prior to being FDA approved if the treating physician certifies that certain conditions are met. Under SB 694, the 30 day wait period is shaved off of the wait time for terminally ill patients, precious time for a patient when they are stronger and their bodies are healthy enough to fight and succeed with safe, ground breaking treatments.

Senator Bettencourt’s legislation would also not require drug companies to provide an experimental drug and it does not remove the FDA from the compassionate use process. It lets insurance companies cover the cost of treatment, but they are not obligated to do so. Also under the bill, the drug a doctor seeks for the patient at this stage has to have successfully passed phase 1 of the FDA’s clinical trial process.

SB 694 is named after Andrea Sloan, an Austin attorney who battled ovarian cancer and waited for several months for an experimental drug her doctors believed could extend her life, and which came too late for her in her battle. Close family and friends champion others facing similar circumstances to give them a fighting chance at winning their battles and living longer lives.

Five other states have passed Right to Try laws that have similarities to the Senator’s.