Letters to the Editor

Give terminally ill this option

I’m writing to express my opinions on Illinois HB 0207, the Right to Try Act. I am a social worker student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and have been following this piece of legislation sponsored by Rep. Mary Flowers.

HB 0207’s purpose is to give patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness the option to try experimental drugs. Most of these patients may not have a sufficient amount of time to wait for FDA clearance of experimental drugs. This legislation would give them access to these experimental drugs or treatments with specific guidelines and procedures:

• Eligible patients who have exhausted all options may obtain experimental drugs that have successfully completed Phase 1 of a clinical trial.

• An experimental drug manufacturer has the option to provide these treatments to eligible patients with or without receiving payments.

• Medical insurance companies have the option to provide coverage for eligible patients but are not obligated.

I support this legislation because this allows patients who may have used all options the availability to seek treatment that was not previously available. Also, if these clinical trial experimental drugs do help prolong the lives of terminally ill patients, this may prompt more research in regard to this particular drug or treatment.

I urge readers to contact their local representatives and urge them to vote to pass this bill. HB 0207 information can be found at http://www.ilga.gov/legislation.

April L. McDougal