A compassionate bill aimed at patients suffering from terminal illnesses is on its way to the governor’s desk. The Right to Try Act by St. Petersburg state Sen. Jeff Brandes earned broad support in the committee stops and has been approved by both chambers.
Gov. Rick Scott is expected to sign the bill into law.
The law would allow dying patients to access experimental medical treatments that have passed a Phase One Clinical Trial, but have not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
“Floridians deserve to have access to medical treatments that could extend or improve the quality of their lives,” Brandes said in an earlier interview. “It often takes three years or longer for medications to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. We can save lives by speeding up access to these treatments for patients who don’t have other options available, and I look forward to strong bipartisan support of this legislation.”
Physical approval or informed consent would be required for patients seeking experimental medications.
Certain drugs that don’t make it through the FDA’s process because they’re not effective would be excluded under the law.
The bill also addresses end-of-life options. It adopts Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment.
The bill does not provide a means for assisted suicide as has been done in some states for terminally ill patients. In a previous interview, Brandes told FloridaPolitics.com when he filed the bill that he was opposed to such measures.
A companion bill moved through the House. That bill was filed by Ray Pilon.
Once signed, Florida will join eight states with Right to Try laws already on the books. According to Brandes’ staff, similar laws are on the table in 20 other states.
The Goldwater Institute, a Libertarian think-tank, has endorsed this kind of legislation in the past.