House Bill 290, also known as Right to Try legislation, sponsored by State Representatives Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills) and Robert Sprague (R-Findlay), recently received its first hearing in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

House Bill 290 would allow Ohioans that are suffering from a terminal illness to have increased access to investigational drugs, biological products, or devices that have passed Phase I of a United States Food and Drug Administration clinical trial and are still being considered for full approval.

Brian Wolf, a local resident of Cuyahoga County and supporter of the bill, said, "Right to try opens a previously locked door for those who have a fatal disease with nowhere else to turn for that glimmer of hope they are looking for."

One of Representative Sprague’s constituents, Connie Ament, also supports the bill and said, “I’m really appreciative that Representative Sprague and Representative Anielski have introduced a bill that could give terminally ill patients an opportunity to be cured, extend their lives, or improve the quality of their lives.  This bill provides another option for patients, while the Food and Drug Administration works to improve the current expanded access process.” 

Ohio’s Right to Try legislation places the control in the hands of the patient or their guardians, while ensuring that they are completely informed and aware of the possible risks and unknown effectiveness associated with investigational medications.

“House Bill 290 will ensure that terminally ill patients have an opportunity to access investigational drugs, without only being limited to clinical trials and the federal government’s Expanded Access Program.  Clinical trials can be difficult to access, and the federal government’s current program has an extensive application process that can take months to complete,” said Representative Sprague. “We feel that House Bill 290 can help patients overcome these barriers to care.”  

“The legislation is a last resort for individuals and their families who feel that their terminal illness has left them nowhere else to turn,” Rep. Anielski said. “Allowing those diagnosed individuals the right to try new medications, under the care and supervision of a physician, has the possibility to greatly improve the patient’s quality of life and, in some cases, provide life saving measures.”

Currently, there are 31 states with a similar law in place. For example, a Texas physician was conducting clinical trials on an investigational treatment, but when the trial ended, there were patients with nowhere to turn. He waited until the state’s Right to Try law was effective and continued his work with 78 patients suffering from a certain form of cancer. To date, there have not been any adverse reactions. Moreover, many of his patients were given three to six months to live. Quality of life improved and many of those same patients have been alive for more than a year.


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