There are three words in life that many pray they never have to hear. Three words that can mean the difference between sickness and heath, life and death. Three words that leave many struggling to find hope. “You have cancer.”

The unfortunate reality is, there are more people across the nation facing a devastating cancer diagnoses than ever before. In the midst of the struggle to deal with a prognosis, many turn to research potential life-saving solutions, which leads patients and their loved ones to learn about FDA trials that could offer a promising treatment or even cure.

However, FDA trials prove to be difficult to be accepted into due to extensive applicant criteria and limited number of spaces available in the study. Additionally, for an FDA trail to be successfully approved takes years, years that many with a terminal diagnosis don’t have.

For that, the Ohio House has recently passed House Bill 290, also known as “Right to Try” legislation. This bill means exactly that; terminal patients, with cancer or other illnesses have a “right to try” treatments that are still undergoing FDA trials.

While it goes without saying that the FDA process is essential to ensuring safe and effective treatments, HB 290 simply allows for expanded availability of medications that have already passed the first phase of the trial period. Patients with a terminal illness also can only access this treatment option with physician approval if they have tried all other approved forms of treatment with little or no success.

Recently, in conjunction with my colleague Senator Jim Hughes, I held a Cancer Caucus meeting, an open forum at the Ohio Statehouse that involved cancer survivors, researchers and surgeons. While much discussion was had surrounding the importance of preventative testing, it was also clear that for those who have been diagnosed, they need to be afforded every opportunity to fight their deadly disease. House Bill 290 gives them that opportunity.

The American Cancer Society anticipates close to 600,000 cancer deaths in 2016 alone, a statistic that doesn’t include those with other terminal illnesses. It’s a disheartening diagnosis, and for that these patients deserve the chance to fight their disease with every resource available, which is why I was proud to vote in favor of House Bill 290. 


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State Representative Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) today honored the Gahanna Columbus Academy boys golf team on the House floor for winning the 2017 Division II State Championship.


Representative Gonzales Sworn In As State Representative Of The 19th House District

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State Representative Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) today was sworn in as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives for the 132nd General Assembly. She represents the 19th Ohio House District, which includes the cities of Westerville, Gahanna and New Albany; Sharon, Blendon, Plain and Mifflin Townships; the Village of Minerva Park and portions of Columbus. This will be her fourth full term in the Ohio House.