Today, the Ohio House passed Substitute House Bill 290, which permits the use of an investigational drug that is still in clinical trials, and has not been approved for general use by the United States Food and Drug Administration, to treat an eligible patient suffering from a terminal condition.

Sub. House Bill 290, also known as “Right to Try” legislation, will allow Ohioans who are suffering from a terminal illness to have increased access to investigational drugs, biological products, or devices that have passed Phase I of an FDA clinical trial and are still being considered for full approval.

“The legislation is potentially the 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, the FDA offers an expanded access program, which allows terminally ill individuals to access investigational medications. However there are only about 1,000 annual participants and the application process is burdensome.

Under Sub. House Bill 290, patients are eligible to access an investigational drug so long as all approved treatment options have been utilized without satisfactory results. Before beginning treatment, the legislation requires physicians to obtain informed consent and provide treatment information to patients or their legal guardians. Additionally, Sub. House Bill 290 provides certain protections for parties that will be involved in the treatment process.

“Only 5% of people with terminal illnesses are able to get into a clinical trial,” said Rep. Sprague. “This will allow the other 95% of our citizens to have access to these potentially life-saving medications or devices.”

Similar legislation has already been passed in 24 states, with 19 of those states passing the “Right to Try” legislation in their most recent legislative session. Ohio’s legislation contains the primary components of the legislation passed in other states.

Sub. House Bill 290 passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

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