© 2023 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Texas House Passes Bill To Quicken Access To Trial Drugs For Cancer Patients

Wiki Commons

The Texas House overwhelmingly passed legislation designed to shorten the time when experimental medications can be given to terminally ill patients.  

Oncologists in Texas are currently only allowed to prescribe experimental drugs that have gone through a number of review panels at the US Food and Drug Administration to cancer patients.

The bill’s author, Rep. Kyle Kacal, a Republican from Bryan, said the state needed to circumvent the federal waiting period to help terminally ill people here. “Currently, before a drug can be made available to the general public by the FDA, it must go through an expensive and lengthy clinical trial process to determine its safety and efficacy, which takes up to an average of 10 to 15 years or $850 million to complete. For patients unable to wait 10 to 15 years, the FDA has a compassionate use policy that is anything but compassionate,” Kacal told members.

Kacal said this rule often became a hurdle for families looking to do their best for an ill family member. Under his bill, all experimental drugs that have passed phase one of the federal review process, would be deemed safe for prescription. It’s a concept that Democratic Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer and an overwhelming majority in the Texas House agreed with. “Giving families that peace of mind, knowing that they are going to deploy by any means a cure or a drug, even on an experimental basis, that may just save if not prolong somebody’s life … ” Martinez Fischer said.

Martinez Fischer’s district includes the University of Texas Cancer Therapy and Research Center in San Antonio. 

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.