Hope for Drug Rehab Patients with Terminal Conditions

Has your loved one gone through drug rehabilitation treatment? Are they struggling to recover from diseases due to drug abuse? In some cases terminal illnesses can lead to misuse of drugs. Yes, terminal, pointing out the sad reality that there is no solution. But what if we could change this term? What if there was something we could do about these diseases? Wouldn’t you do anything to try save your loved one from a terminal illness?

“The Right to Try Act is a no-brainer,” said Mike Maharrey of the Tenth Amendment Center. “When someone is on their deathbed, the fact that FDA regulations would let them die rather than try, has got to be one of the most inhumane policies of the federal government. Every state should nullify the FDA like this.”

The Right to Try Act is a movement designed and promoted by the Goldwater Institute, a free-market advocacy group in Arizona to deal with several concerns about patients’ use of experimental drugs. Their “model legislation” is to gain legal access to experimental drugs not yet approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make it easier for terminally ill people to obtain treatments.

At least 36 states and D.C. have examined or will examine this burgeoning issue this year, with filed bills and 12 signed laws. In Florida the Right to Try Act has been approved as from the first of July without opposition in the House and Senate. Doctors under a separate bill will also be able to prescribe a drug known as “opioid antagonist”, which they can inject in case of halt overdoses.

How accessible are these drugs?
Only patients with terminal conditions could have access to these experimental drugs and will be closely monitored, thus making it difficult to abuse.

  • Only medications that have passed Phase I clinical trials, or the first studies in humans will be available for trial. Usually drugs complete three phases of testing on many patients before being permitted by FDA.
  • Access is limited to patients with an irreversible and incurable condition with a fairly short time to live, whom have tried plenty of other available treatments.

Requesting access to an experimental drug requires diagnosis from a doctor to declare that the drug represents the patient’s best chance at survival. Therefore it is highly improbable that these drugs will reach the general population.

Views from different perspectives
Legislation is concerned that it could generate false expectation of hope to the patient, as well as undermining the FDA’s authority and medical expertise in the regulation of pharmaceutical products.

Patients will be exposed to limited testing of dangerous drugs through widespread clinical testing, a very challenging process. Other critics claim that these bills won’t have an effect because they don’t require the companies to provide the investigational medication to patients.

Supporters believe any hope is better than no hope. Patients should have the right to fight for their own life. Such people should have the option of accessing investigational drugs which have passed basic safety tests, provided there is a doctor’s recommendation, informed consent, and the willingness of the manufacturer of the medication to make such drugs available. In this sense it will have very little effect on the general illegal drug industry in Florida. However, it will provide possible relief for drug addicts and those recovering from addiction but suffering from terminal illnesses and could change the lives of these people.