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"Right-to-Try" Bill Fails

The US House of Representatives has rejected a "right-to-try" bill, Stat News reports. If law, the legislation would have allowed patients with terminal diseases to try experimental, unproven treatments without approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

The bill, which was brought up under fast-track procedures that require a two-thirds majority to pass, fell in a 259-to-140 vote, the New York Times adds. It notes that the Senate passed a similar bill last year and that the bill had support from President Donald Trump.

Proponents of the bill said that it would enable patients to get around FDA rules to access potentially life-saving therapies, Stat News adds. "Our bill will give some relief to terminally ill patients who have no further options left to extend their lives," Representative Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) said before the vote, according to the Times. "All Americans have the right and freedom to try to save their lives."

Opponents, however, said it would do more harm than good, Stat News says. The Times notes that both the American Medical Association and the American Society of Clinical Oncology opposed the bill. "Supporters of this legislation talk as if effective treatments are being withheld from patients," Robert Califf, the former FDA commissioner under President Barack Obama, tells the Times. "The vast majority of experimental therapies are toxic or ineffective."

Stat News adds that the bill can be re-introduced under normal, non-fast-track procedures.