In an effort to give terminally-ill patients access to clinical-trial, experimental medical treatments, the bipartisan duo of State Sen. Michael Connelly (R-Lisle) and State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) are seeking to bring "Right to Try" to Illinois.
If passed, Senate Bill 29 would make Illinois the sixth state in the nation to pass this potentially lifesaving access to experimental medical treatments. Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan and Missouri have pass the initiatives either through their legislatures or through referenda.
“It is incumbent upon us in the General Assembly to provide our constituents afflicted with terminal illness access to potentially life-saving or life-extending medications that have been deemed safe by the FDA. This legislation does just that,” Connelly said.
“I hope this shows that in Illinois, Republicans and Democrats, social liberals or social conservatives, can reach across the aisle to solve problems for suffering families. These families are desperate to cut through red-tape to access possible cures for their loved ones when all other treatments have failed." Harris said. "'Right to try' is a huge leap forward to help connect our state's most terminal patients with some of the nation’s best medical resources, including those here in Chicago and give them the gift of life."
"Right to Try" offers terminally-ill citizens afflicted with HIV, ALS, cancer or a litany of other serious conditions access to experimental treatments. Typically, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a five-year trial period for the testing of medical and pharmaceutical products and procedures, which delays treatment for terminally-ill patients.
In recent years, terminally-ill patients have gone to extremes for potential cures to their ailments such as traveling to the Netherlands for Alzheimer's treatments, or France for revolutionary chemo-therapies.
“The FDA has been hesitant to ‘fast-track’ so called experimental treatments, but in light of the recent Ebola world crisis -- they might be wise to reconsider. We witnessed this past summer and fall that with the quick application of experimental medications, a certain death sentence of Ebola was reversed by the Zmapp drug and two medical professionals who worked in Africa were saved," Connelly said.
"'Right to try' is also an asset to the medical community, because it provides clinical trials with more cases to use during the FDA research period. Medical facilities in Illinois are world-renowned, so it only makes sense to open up these opportunities," Harris said.
The Arizona-based free market think tank Goldwater Institute described "right to try" as a means that "gives those who've lost hope, one last chance to win it back."
Senate Bill 29 was introduced on Jan. 15 and is currently assigned to the Senate Insurance Committee.