Despite opposition from Democrats, President Trump signed a landmark law Wednesday affirming the rights of ill Americans to seek life-saving medical treatments even if the treatments have not been approved by the government.
The historic signing ceremony drew national attention when a young boy who suffers from a fatal form of muscular dystrophy repeatedly tried to get the president’s attention in order to hug him. He finally did. It was a moving moment as well for countless terminally ill Americans who long to live and thrive.
“Thanks to Trump, Americans facing terminal diagnoses will now have a new chance at life,” wrote American Enterprise Institute fellow and former President George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen in a piece published by Fox News.
Thiessen thanked Republicans as well who fought against the other party to get the measure passed. Known as the “right to try” bill, it keeps patients from having their access to experimental treatment blocked by the FDA if the FDA hasn’t approved the treatments yet.
"Thousands of terminally ill Americans will finally have hope, and the fighting chance, and I think it's going to better than a chance, that they will be cured, they will be helped, and be able to be with their families for a long time, or maybe just for a longer time," Trump said as he signed the “right to try” bill, according to The Hill.
The bill sailed through the Senate but was opposed by most House Democrats who argued that it could put patients at risk from unproven experimental treatments or give them “false hope.” But supporters of the bill pointed out that patients should be allowed to seek those treatments after the approved methods have failed to heal them.
Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) assured that “the Trump Administration, and FDA Commissioner [Scott] Gottlieb, will take both congressional intent and the safety of patients into consideration when implementing this important law.”
“People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure — I want to give them a chance right here at home,” Trump added, according to a White House press release.
About 1 million Americans die a year from terminal illnesses each year and only a fraction are allowed into clinical trials. “Right to try” supporters have argued that the FDA process for approving new treatments is incredibly lengthy and complicated, delaying life-saving solutions until its too late.