'Right to Try' legislation becoming legal in Illinois soon - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

'Right to Try' legislation becoming legal in Illinois soon


The new year brings new laws into effect in Illinois.

"I think it just makes sense," Rockford area Senator Dave Syverson saidd.

One piece of legislation is known around the state as the Right to Try.

"It will now allow individuals who are terminally ill the ability to get access to experimental drugs where before they couldn't do that until they reached FDA final approval," Syverson said.

Syverson and Rockford area Senator Steve Stadelman voted in favor of the bill.  Syverson sai the medical society, the pharmaceutical industry, and the insurance industry all agreed to support it but, Scott Meyers Executive Vice President of the Illinois Council of Health System Pharmacists said there were other options.

"We think that the better way is to speed up the FDA approval process, to streamline the testing and to provide patients with medication quicker than what they have already," Meyers said.
Meyers said drug companies may not comply since the law isn't mandated.  It could also be risky for patients.

"If they have a reaction to the drug, the drug companies won't know if that was caused by the drug itself or by the disease, and so it makes it difficult for the drug companies," Meyers said. "It makes it very dangerous for the patients because the drugs have not been fully tested yet."

There are important requirements that go along with the right to try these medications.

"In order to use these drugs you have to get permission from the drug company," Meyers said.  "You also have to have your physician determine that you're terminally ill and then its up to the drug company as to whether or not they grant you access to their medications."

Local Doctor John Dorsee said this law gives patients the opportunity to access care they previously couldn't.

"My advice would be really based upon a further conversation, making sure the patient was well aware and their family, and significant others were well aware that this is experimental," Dorsee said. "All the ifs, ands, and buts and outcomes are not known, and if they are comfortable with that after informed consent and thorough discussion, I would say go ahead and do it."   

Medical companies are now able to work with pharmacists to figure out which medications are in early stages of approval.

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