Right to Try

Right to Try

In May, President Trump signed the Right to Try Act into law, making it possible for terminally ill patients to try medicines that are not approved by the federal government for market. This type of legislation has been around since 2014, when Colorado became the first state to enact Right to Try, but it is gaining attention in the news as patients, professionals, and politicians determine what it means for America.

What Does it Mean to the Terminally Ill?

Right to Try allows terminally ill patients to use treatments that may be in the midst of clinical trials, but haven’t yet gained FDA approval. The process to gain FDA approval may take years, meaning patients with a terminal diagnosis may miss out on these cutting edge treatments. There are current procedures that allow patients to apply for access to these treatments through the expanded access program. However, the process still takes time and resources. Patients have to continue to work with treatment teams, doctors, and even manufacturers to gain access to the best treatments for their individual case.

Drug Sensitivity and Resistance

With Right to Try already available in 40 states, and now enacted by POTUS, patients and families are hopeful. However, the logistics behind Right to Try, and matching patients with medical treatments is a specific science. Drug sensitivity and resistance testing is part of the clinical trial process, and the way that medical professionals determine how much a medication may change cancer cells and how the body may resist the treatment.

Drug Costs and Availability

Although there may be laws on the books allowing patients to seek experimental drugs, it doesn’t mean they’ll be easy to come by. Manufacturers will not be creating 'made to order' drugs for free, and may even have to charge in excess due to the risk involved with medical treatments that aren’t FDA approved. There is some concern about how this legislation will affect other drug costs and the pharmaceutical industry as a whole.

Learn more about Right to Try from the Food and Drug Administration press release [https://www.fda.gov/newsevents/newsroom/pressannouncements/ucm609258.htm] dated May 30, 2018. Patients should continue to work with medical professionals and work toward whole health and quality of life while managing treatments for terminal illnesses.

Right to Try

Meet the Author:

Rachel Ashworth


Rachel Ashworth is originally from the Midwest, her expertise is writing research-based articles about health and wellness. Specific interests include mental health and addiction. Rachel has written on a wide range of topics including parenting, fitness, health, fire safety, home maintenance, medical insurance, and dental care. She spends her time writing, volunteering with her church and community, and teaching her children.


Rachel Ashworth is originally from the Midwest, her expertise is writing research-based articles about health and wellness. Specific interests include mental health and addiction. Rachel has written on a wide range of topics including parenting, fitness, health, fire safety, home maintenance, medical insurance, and dental care. She spends her time writing, volunteering with her church and community, and teaching her children.