For those who have experienced the loss of a loved one to a terminal illness, you are well aware of the agony that can envelop the entire family. The patient often finds themselves praying for a treatment that will simply subdue their pain, while family members fervently pray for a cure.

In the midst of the struggle to deal with a prognosis, many turn to research potential life-saving solutions. The result of this search often leads to the discovery of a promising FDA clinical trial. At the root of an FDA trial is the possibility for hope. However, the unfortunate reality is that the acceptance rate into these trials is minimal, and the amount of time for a treatment to gain FDA approval can outlast a terminal prognosis.

I believe that these patients and families should be able to try a prospective cure or treatment, with the support of their physician, if they so choose. For that reason, I was proud to co-sponsor House Bill 290, “Right to Try” legislation that will allow terminally ill Ohioans to experiment with a medication or treatment that is currently undergoing FDA clinical testing.

It is important to note that HB 290 does not aim to undermine the necessity and integrity of the FDA process. If passed by the Ohio Senate, HB 290 stipulates that the course of treatment that is being tested must have already passed phase one of the FDA clinical trial process.

Furthermore, the patient can only access the experimental medication with the approval of their doctor. After exhausting all physician-recommended treatment options with little or no success, HB 290 will allow terminally ill patients to access an investigational drug.

The American Cancer Society anticipates an estimated 1,685,210 new cancer cases and 595,690 cancer deaths in the US in 2016. For these thousands of individuals, and the many more who will suffer from other terminal illnesses, we must not deny them the one thing they cling to: hope.

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