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Texas Senate Unanimously Sends ‘Right To Try’ Bill To Governor’s Desk

The Texas Tribune

Terminally ill patients would get access to experimental drugs that have preliminary FDA approval under legislation that received unanimous support Friday from the Texas Senate. 

Known as the “right to try” bill, House Bill 21 by State Rep. Kyle Kacal, R-College Station, would let the patients access drugs that have passed at least the first of three FDA trial phases, once the patient has exhausted other treatment options. The proposal will now head to the governor’s desk. 

The measure was written in honor of state Capitol lobbyist Andrea Sloan, who waged a public battle with ovarian cancer and sought federal permission to try an experimental treatment shortly before her death in 2014. 

Sloan had to wait more than three weeks to get approval, a process lawmakers hope to expedite with right-to-try legislation. 

Eleven of Texas’ 31 state senators put their names on the proposal, in a broad gesture of support for the legislation. “I am honored to have the support of every Texas senator to let patients and doctors fight terminally ill diagnoses,” the bill’s Senate sponsor, Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, said in a statement. “In these fairly uncommon situations, time is the great predator.”

Five states have already passed so-called right-to-try laws, and lawmakers in a dozen other states are likely to consider similar legislation this year. 

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune here