newshouse senate leaders announce agreement on right to try legislation
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House, Senate leaders announce agreement on Right to Try legislation

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state-capitol2House and Senate leaders held a press conference today in Richmond to discuss right to try legislation, which expands access to investigational drugs for terminally ill patients. Senate Bill 732, incorporating SB 1149 and SB 1222, is on its third reading today in the House. House Bill 1750 was reported from the Senate’s Education and Health Committee last week on a 14-0 vote.

The House and Senate leaders were joined by investigational drug access advocates Aimee Hardy, whose son Josh fought for access to an investigational drug last year, and Frank Burroughs, founder of the Abigail Alliance. Audio of the press conference is available upon request.

Speaking about the legislation, Del. Ransone (R-Kinsale), patron of HB 1750, said, “When a loved one has exhausted all other options to combat an illness, the compassionate thing to do is to allow them access to investigational treatments that provide hope. This legislation will give patients that hope.”

“I’m glad that the hard work of members in the House and Senate has resulted in legislation that will help Virginians in dire need,” said House Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford). “I support this legislation because once all other options have been exhausted, if there’s a treatment that holds promise, we owe it to the patients and their loved ones to let them try.”

Senator Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania), patron of SB 1222, said, “This legislation can make a difference in life or death situations for families and loved ones in critical need. Making it easier to access investigational drugs in these circumstances is the right thing to do.”

Senator Bill Stanley (R-Franklin), patron of SB 732, said, “I’m glad that the House and Senate have come to an agreement that will give critically ill patients a lifeline of hope. It will make a real difference in people’s lives.”

Josh Hardy’s mom Aimee Hardy said, “Families should have access to lifesaving drugs when they could prevent the loss of a loved one. There are so many people in need, and we hope that this legislation might help others who have run out of options for treatment.”

Frank Burroughs, founder of the Abigail Alliance for Better Access to Developmental Drugs, said, “The Virginia ‘Right to Try’ bill is an important part of paving the way for much needed and very doable change at the FDA that will save lives. In Virginia and other states that have passed ‘Right to Try’ laws there is broad public support for this change.”

Background on House Bill 1750 & Senate Bill 732: Right to try legislation offers the opportunity for terminally ill patients, under the supervision of their physician, to receive experimental drugs. This bill provides that access only if the drug has successfully completed phase one of a clinical trial process. The patient must be defined terminally ill by his or her treating physician and confirmed by a second physician not previously involved with the patient’s treatment.

The legislation does not mandate the manufacturer to provide the experimental drug. It allows the physician and the patient to go straight to the manufacturer when time is critical. This would be an option only after all FDA-approved treatment options had been exhausted and the treating physician and second physician not previously involved agree that the experimental drug is a preferable option.

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