Legislation giving terminally-ill patients the right to try experimental drugs has been passed in five states this year, including Arizona and Colorado.
Riding this wave, Republican Rep. Gage Froerer from Huntsville proposed a bill Tuesday that would allow Utah doctors to obtain and administer experimental drugs to treat patients with terminal illnesses.
The movement has been pushed nationally by those who say the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval process takes too long.
Froerer said the law would give patients with illnesses such as ALS and cancer the option to use experimental, Phase 1 FDA-tested drugs.
“Phase 1 testing basically says that we don’t know if it will do any good or benefit you, but we know it won’t hurt the human body," Froerer said. "They haven’t taken the studies far enough to determine whether it actually would be beneficial for that particular illness.”
He said H.B. 94 gives hope to patients who have nowhere left to turn and will give them the freedom to try to save their lives.
“It gives them the ability to be in charge of their own health for life preservation. It gives them the ability to really have a choice to say, 'Should I try this? Do I make the decision or does a bureaucrat back in Washington D.C. make the decision that I shouldn’t have access to it?'," Froerer said.
Froerer said the law would allow people to seek the help they desire without leaving the country, which he said is a current issue for patients.
He acknowledged the program is in its preliminary stages and said officials will not know all the outcomes of the law in the near future. He said, however, that any lives saved are worth the effort.