Oregon hopefully will join thirteen* states that have enacted Right to Try legislation, allowing terminally ill patients to try experimental drugs not yet approved by the FDA.
In several states, the face of Right to Try efforts was a child. Fourteen-year-old Diego Morris was honorary chairman of the Arizona campaign that saw 78 percent of voters approve Right to Try last November. Diagnosed with a deadly form of bone cancer when he was eleven, Diego and his family had to move to London for treatment with a drug approved there, but not in the United States. Now cancer free, Diego visited the Oregon Capitol in February to meet with legislators. When asked what he would say to opponents of Right to Try, Diego answered, “Wait until they find themselves in my situation, and then ask them.”
Five-year-old Jordan McLinn handed the pen to Indiana Governor Mike Pence when he signed that state’s Right to Try law on March 24. Jordan has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a terminal illness that without experimental treatment may kill him before he turns 20.
No doubt some Oregon children could benefit from the Right to Try. House Bill 2300 would give adults that right, but not children under age 15. Those who favor Right to Try might let their state legislators know that faced with a terminal illness, children should have the same Right to Try as adults do.
*Montana became the 13th state to enact a Right to Try law last Tuesday.
Steve Buckstein is founder and Senior Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.