SACRAMENTO, CA –Assembly Bill 159, the “Right to Try Act” authored by Assemblymember Ian Calderon which would allow eligible patients with a serious or immediately life threatening disease to seek investigational drugs under the supervision of a physician, was approved by the Assembly with bipartisan support.
“AB 159 is simple- if your parent, or your child, or even you are faced with a terminal illness, you have the right to try and save your life,” stated Assemblymember Ian Calderon. “The measure provides strong protections for patients and physicians, while allowing patients the right to try investigational drugs that have passed basic safety testing.”
AB 159 requires written, informed consent be given by patients, institutional review board oversight of physician recommendations, and biannual reports to the Department of Public Health in order to ensure safety for both patients and physicians. The bill also requires a second opinion from a physician upon the patient’s diagnosis of a terminal illness.
“Right to Try” legislation has been introduced in 22 states. Similar measures have passed in Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming with bipartisan support. In Arizona, the “Right to Try” ballot initiative (Proposition 303) in 2014 was supported by an overwhelming majority of voters (78%).
Currently, FDA regulations do allow for expanded access to investigational treatments for those patients with serious or immediately life threatening diseases or conditions. The new laws provide patients with improved access to investigational treatments and highlight the broader issue at hand: the lengthiness of the FDA approval process delays potentially life-saving drugs from reaching the market in a timely manner.
Assemblymember Ian Calderon is the Chair of the Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media. Calderon is also the Chair of the Select Committee on Youth and California's Future. He represents the 57th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Industry, La Habra Heights, La Mirada, La Puente, Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs, South El Monte, Whittier and the unincorporated communities of Avocado Heights and Hacienda Heights.
CONTACT: Lerna Shirinian, (562) 692-5858