Maryland Lawmakers Weigh ‘Right to Try’ Bill

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Maryland lawmakers may open a way for terminally ill patients to try new drugs outside of clinical trials.

In the case of cancer patients for example, doctors could prescribe new drugs without the FDA’s permission.

“I have metastatic breast cancer which will eventually kill me, and the thing about cancer is, it always finds a way around the drug that you’re taking,” Kelly Lange said.

Researchers are constantly looking for new cancer treatments, one recent high profile case is the drug Keytruda that arrested the growth of cancer in former president Jimmy Carter.

“The Keytruda that Jimmy Carter has had such success with, is now in clinical trial for breast cancer, of course he has metastatic melanoma, so wouldn’t it be great if my doctor thought that Keytruda is something that would work for me. If I could try that drug before the clinical trial is completed if I’m not eligible for the clinical trial,” Lange said.

The General Assembly agrees, the House and Senate are passing different versions that sponsor Bryan Simonaire says gives hope where none exists.

“The way I envisioned it, if one of my seven children was sick and terminally ill that I would like to have the right to try that. Other people have taken their kids overseas to England and other places to get the treatment because it’s not approved here yet by the FDA,” said Senator Simonaire (R).

“That could be something that gives me a few more months or even a few more years,” Lange said.

33 states have already passed right to try laws.

Lawmakers are confident they can iron out the differences between the House and Senate versions and have a bill to send to the governor before the end of the session.

16 other states are considering similar bills this year.

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