Dems: Patients want greater access to experimental treatments

February 23, 2016

New legislation could provide hope for Iowans with terminal illnesses who are desperate for relief or a cure.


The development of prescription drugs is long and expensive. Often, clinical trials are only available to a select few, leaving many patients with a terminal illness nowhere to turn.


The Senate State Government Committee has approved the “Right to Try” legislation (SF 2198), which permits manufacturers of experimental drugs, biological products and devices to make their products available to eligible patients with terminal illnesses if they provide written informed consent.


The bill provides safeguards, including:

  • The physician must acknowledge that their patient’s illness is terminal and recommend they try an experimental drug or treatment.
  • Government entities and the patient’s insurance provider are not required to pay for the treatment.
  • The manufacturer of the experimental drug may charge or provide the treatment free of charge.
  • The Board of Medicine may not punish a physician solely for recommending an experimental drug.
  • Protections from lawsuits for the patient or doctor who try experimental treatments.

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