Heartland Institute Supports House Passage of Right to Try Bill

Published March 13, 2018

The U.S. House of Representatives today is scheduled to vote on a “Right to Try” bill that would expand the ability of patients and their doctors to access life-saving drugs not yet fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This House bill, championed by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), is similar to one that Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) successfully passed through the Senate last year.

Earlier this year, The Heartland Institute asked the White House to include Right to Try in his first State of the Union Address, and President Trump did just that by calling on Congress to send him a Right to Try bill. Heartland has also been working with its ally the Goldwater Institute, a leader on this issue for years, to push the idea forward in 2018. Thirty-eight states have their own Right to Try laws, but a federal statute will help speed patient access to these life-saving cures.

The following statements from experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

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“If this bill passes, it will be a quiet victory, but a historic moment for every American. Right to Try will save many lives by nudging the FDA out of the way and opening up opportunities for patients and their doctors to access potentially life-savings drugs.

“As big a victory as this bill is, America can and must do better. All patients, and not just those close to death, must be truly free to choose medicine to not only save their lives, but improve their quality of life. “

Tim Huelskamp, Ph.D.
President, The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

Dr. Huelskamp represented Kansas’ 1st District in the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017.


“President Trump signing the Right To Try bill will put a stake in the ground that patients, advised by their doctors, have a fundamental right to make medical decisions, without waiting for FDA drug approval, that may extend or even save their lives. Many of those cheering this pending legislation have been working to restructure the FDA’s monopoly on access to new drugs far beyond just the terminally-ill patients covered by Right To Try.

“Heartland’s current Free To Choose Medicine campaign may well result in President Trump signing follow-on legislation that results in better drugs, sooner, at lower cost to the benefit of patients now and in the future.”

Bartley J. Madden
Policy Advisor
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

Mr. Madden is the author of Free To Choose Medicine: Better Drugs Sooner at Lower Cost, a plan to save lives by reforming the drug-approval process in the United States.