Rep. Huffman Statement on Right-to-Try Vote

March 13, 2018

Washington, D.C.- Rep. Huffman (D-San Rafael) released the following statement after voting against the House Republicans’ Right-to-Try legislation, which failed to pass out the House of Representatives today: 

“This so-called Right-to-Try proposal that was rushed to the House floor without committee review could jeopardize patients’ lives. Not only does it gut key drug safety standards that protect vulnerable patients but it’s unnecessary: the Food and Drug Administration already has an Expanded Access Program to deliver investigational therapies and has approved 99 percent of requests for expanded access. This bill does nothing to guarantee access to investigational therapies for patients; it simply weakens FDA oversight. Any legislation that affects patient safety should be considered very carefully, but in this case, Republicans attempted to jam this controversial bill through the House on the same day it was introduced, without going through the normal committee review process. Instead of rushing to pass dangerous legislation, we should work together on a bipartisan basis to ensure both patient safety and access to investigational treatments.

Patient groups and pharmaceutical companies are opposed to this bill because it will put patients with serious life-threatening diseases at risk.

Specifically, the Right-to-Try proposal would:

  • Establish an alternative pathway for patients to request an investigational drug therapy outside of clinical trials and without oversight by the FDA;
  • Eliminate several of the FDA’s patient safeguards; and
  • Provide broad liability protections for manufacturers—leaving patients with no recourse in the case of an adverse event.