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Bill allowing terminally ill patients the ‘Right to Try” new drugs moves forward

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Posted at 12:57 PM, Feb 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-24 15:07:49-05

SALT LAKE CITY - Lawmakers are discussing a bill to allow terminally ill patients to have quicker access to unapproved drugs at the State Capitol.

Supporters of this legislation say it gives terminally ill people hope.

The patients have exhausted all their options with traditional treatments and some may die while waiting for the next breakthrough or miracle drug.

If passed, the “Right to Try” bill would give terminally ill patients quicker access to experimental drugs; drugs that have passed phase one of FDA approval process but are not on pharmacy shelves.

The pharmaceutical company would have to give a doctor consent for use of the investigational drug.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Gage Froerer, said he's heard from several people desperate for other options to help a loved one before it is too late.

Mother Cristina Might spoke to committee members about her 7-year-old son Bertrand Tuesday.

He has a rare genetic disorder with no known cure.

“Anything that can increase the quality of life for Bertrand would be fantastic but most importantly give us the right to try this drug that we're really hoping to get our hands on,” Might said.

“This is the right thing to do,” Froerer said. “I'm obviously a firm believer in patients’ rights and people should have the opportunity to do whatever they feel is necessary to prolong and protect their life.”

Froerer says “Right to Try” laws are in place in Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan and Missouri.

About a dozen states like Utah are pushing for similar legislation.

There was almost no opposition to the bill Tuesday.

All senate committee members gave it their approval.

The house has already signed off on the legislation.

Now, the senate will get its chance to weigh in.