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With patients demanding experimental drugs, ‘right to try’ is becoming the law of the land, STAT

HARRISBURG, Pa. — To hear Bob Godshall tell it, he has no business being alive.

Eleven years ago, at age 72, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of bone cancer. His doctors told him to get his affairs in order. He’d be gone within a year.

But when Godshall learned some myeloma patients bought time with bone marrow transplants, he asked his doctors if he could get one, too. “No way,” they said, citing his advanced age.

Godshall, who had at that point been a member of the Pennsylvania state legislature for more than 20 years, made a few calls. He got the treatment — after signing “stacks of paper” assuring doctors they would face no liability if he died — and lived long enough to see the approval of a new drug that has since kept his disease under control.

The experience convinced him that no terminally ill patient should ever hear “no way” again.

He’s not alone. Over the past three years, “right-to-try” advocates in 33 states have helped enact legislation to eliminate legal obstacles blocking terminally ill patients from treatments that aren’t yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Those advocates are showing considerable momentum in the remaining 17 states, potentially upending the established order for experimental drugs.

The movement has been fueled in no small part by the anti-regulatory sentiment that propelled Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency and by the explicit support of Vice President Mike Pence.

Click here to read the full article by Bob Tedeschi, STAT News.