Lawmakers Consider "Right to Try" for Terminally Ill Patients

Feb 23, 2015

Aimee Hardy advocates for the legislation.

Patients with a terminal illness would have expanded access to investigational drugs under Senate legislation that has been given preliminary approval by the House of Delegates. 

The bill would allow manufacturers to supply the medicine when all other treatment options have been exhausted. The legislation—which has been dubbed the “Right to Try” bill—was inspired by a young boy in the Commonwealth who fought for access to an investigational drug last year.

Josh Hardy is a cancer survivor who had a deadly viral infection.  His family and friends launched a social media campaign that drew national attention and helped him win access to an experimental drug.  His mother, Aimee, said she hopes other families will not have to go through what her family did.

“You should never have to go traipsing over national TV to try to get a medication for your child. Having to leave their bedside while they are in the ICU to fight for a drug is just—it’s just it shouldn’t happen.”

Under the bill, the treating physician must recommend this option, and could only do so if phase one of the drug’s clinical trial process has been completed. The physician could then ask the manufacturer to supply the drug, but it would not be required to do so.