The Right to Try Clarification Act is a proposed law that would clarify the right of terminally ill patients to access experimental therapies, such as psychedelic-assisted therapy. This right is currently protected by a federal statute called the “Right to Try Act.”
The new bipartisan bill proposes amending the Right To Try Act to make explicit that patients who have exhausted other options have the right to access these experimental treatments. If enacted, this bill would clarify the purpose of the Right To Try Act, and dramatically expand access to alternative treatments for terminal illness and addiction.
Today, August 31, happens to be International Overdose Awareness Day. For all of those who have been impacted by a drug overdose or lost a loved one to drug addiction, The Right to Try Clarification Act presents a potential solution.
How Does the Right to Try Act Work?
The current Right to Try Act allows terminally ill patients to use certain psychotherapeutic drugs that meet certain criteria, with the assistance of a mental health professional. Criteria include any Schedule I drug that has already completed a Phase 1 clinical trial.
Under the Right to Try Act, qualifying patients may be provided with access to experimental treatments that have not been approved by the FDA. These may include psilocybin-assisted therapy, or MDMA-assisted therapy, both of which have been designated by the FDA as breakthrough therapies. The FDA is expected to approve both medications within the next two years.
The Right To Try Act is intended to protect terminally ill patients from being denied access to experimental treatments. Despite this right, patients are still fighting for their right to access these medicines. This is why the Right to Try Clarification Act is being proposed.
U.S. Senator, Dr. Rand Paul (R-KY), says, “As a physician, I know how important Right to Try is for patients facing a life-threatening condition. Unfortunately, the federal bureaucracy continues to block patients seeking to use Schedule I drugs under Right to Try.”
In addition, the Right to Try Act only applies to terminally ill patients who have exhausted all other treatment options. It does not protect patients with less severe conditions who may still benefit from alternative psychotherapeutic treatments.
Is The Right to Try Clarification Act the Right Approach?
The current Right to Try Act is a useful first step in ensuring terminally ill patients have full access to experimental treatments. However, it is limited in scope and does not protect all patients in need. This is why members of Congress are proposing amendments with the passing of The Right to Try Clarification Act.
The FDA approval process is designed to make sure that drugs are safe and effective before they hit the market. Unfortunately, this process can take years and does not always guarantee a positive outcome for patients. As a result, many patients turn to unlicensed and potentially unsafe remedies in an effort to save their lives or make their last days more comfortable.
With its chance of saving lives, the bill has support from many different community groups, including military veterans. An official letter of support for the bill was submitted by the Veteran Mental Health Leadership Coalition.
“This bill will open access to MDMA and psilocybin-assisted therapy for Veterans who are at serious risk of suicide and have exhausted all other options,”
said Martin R. Steele, a retired Lieutenant General in the United States Marine Corps., Chief Executive Officer of Reason for Hope, and head of the recently formed Veteran Mental Health Leadership Coalition.