Right to Try Act for Individual Patients

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year! The 444th Legislative Session of Maryland is gearing up to reconvene on January 10th. It's our chance to share our ideas and solutions to make life better for those in St. Mary's County and those across Maryland. I'm stoked to unveil my creative legislative agenda for this year. Now, as someone who's been on the Health and Government Operations Committee since my first election, it's no surprise that many of my proposed bills are all about improving healthcare. In the coming weeks, I'll be dishing out concise write-ups for many of the bills I plan to introduce. These write-ups have been used for years to garner support and serve as written testimony during bill hearings. Surprisingly, I have just sent them out via email. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on these initiatives.

The first idea is the Right to Try for Individual Patients. I've always loved the idea of kicking the government to the curb and letting the private sector take charge. After the Summer I've had, I have learned that you never know when a bill like this might actually apply to you.

"No Time for Waiting: The Life-Saving Power of the Right to Try Act for Individual Patients Act."

Ever imagined what it's like to be told that there's a potentially life-saving treatment out there for your life-threatening illness, but you can't access it because it's still awaiting a nod from the FDA? It sounds like a twisted plot from a dystopian novel. But this is the grim reality for many patients across our nation. Enter the hero of our story - The Right to Try for Individual Patients Act!  A bill I plan to introduce this legislative session.

A Glimmer of Hope

The Right to Try for Individual Patients Act could be a lifeline that emerges when all hope seems lost. It gives patients diagnosed with life-threatening or severely debilitating illnesses a chance to try investigational treatments. Imagine being at the end of your rope,-------> Click the READ MORE Link to read the rest of the email.

and someone whispers, "Hey, there's still a chance." That's precisely what this bill proposal does!

But it's not a free-for-all. There are guideposts in place. The patient's doctor has to vouch for the severity of the illness and recommend the experimental treatment. Plus, the patient must sign a written consent form saying, "Yep, I know what I'm getting into."

Treading the Tightrope of Medical Ethics

Now, let's get serious for a moment. The FDA has a system that could and should be more up-to-speed with the lightning pace of medical innovation.  Personalized treatments based on genetic information pop up left, right, and center. But the FDA is like that grumpy old man, slow to change his ways. The Right to Try for Individual Patients Act is like a fresh breeze, shaking up the system and giving patients the right to the proper treatment at the right time.

The Stats Don't Lie

Similar legislation has already been passed in Arizona, Nevada, and Iowa. Other states are catching on, realizing the old ways aren't cutting it.

But remember, just because everyone's doing it doesn't mean it's right. And it's not just about feeling good, folks. The numbers back it up, too! The current clinical trial system, designed for the masses, doesn't fit the individualized treatment bill. Picture trying to squeeze a square peg into a round hole. That's what it's like!  For example, therapeutic cancer vaccines tailored to a patient's unique genetic mutations can do wonders.  But the FDA's clinical trial system says, "Wait, we don't have a protocol for this!" The Right to Try for Individual Patients Act could be the game-changer we need.

The Old vs. the New

Now, let's chat about the original Right to Try Act passed in Maryland in 2017 and signed into law federally in 2018. This was a good start, but it's like trying to run a 21st-century software on a 1980s computer. It just doesn't keep up with medical innovations. The current Federal Right to Try Act requires treatments to be in clinical trials, which doesn't cut it when discussing individualized medicine. States like Maryland led the way for the original passage of the Right to Try, and we should lead again.

The Roadblocks and Opportunity Ahead

Under the Right to Try for Individual Patients Act, Drug companies and manufacturers are not obligated to provide treatments. After all, it is unreasonable to expect them to offer something they may not have. Additionally, we must acknowledge the elephant in the room - the cost of these personalized treatments. While federal law prohibits profiting from unapproved drugs, companies can recover direct costs from patients. Furthermore, under this bill, insurance agencies are not compelled to cover these experimental treatments. We must not underestimate the opportunity for a significant positive impact on Maryland's medical and pharmaceutical industries. Breakthrough treatments happen every day. Maryland could become a world-class leader in advanced treatment options for rare diseases. 

Time to Step Up!

So what's the takeaway?  The Right to Try Act for Individual Patients could be a game-changer for those facing life-threatening illnesses.  It's about giving people the right to fight for their lives on their own terms. How about lending your voice to those who desperately need it? Contact your local representatives and spread awareness about the Right to Try Act for Individual Patients.  

After all, everyone deserves a fighting chance.

If you have any questions or would like to testify in support of this idea, please do not hesitate to contact my office.