by Tom Joyce


Arizona will now allow patients the right to try medical remedies that could save their lives but have not been given government approval for use.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed the Right to Try for Individualized Treatments (SB1163) on Monday this week. This came one week after the bill passed in the Arizona House of Representatives with bipartisan support.

Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, is the original sponsor of the bill. 

The Arizona Senate Republicans’ Twitter account posted a video of Barto on Tuesday this week explaining why she felt the bill was necessary.

“It allows patients with terminal conditions, genetic conditions that only investigational drugs can help at this point,” Barto said. “The FDA’s approval process doesn’t cover these types of gene therapies and personal medicines that Right to Try 2.0 will allow.”

Usually, new medical treatments need the Food and Drug Administration’s approval before patients can access them. Treatments made for individuals based on their genetics, however, cannot receive FDA in time to cure rare illnesses, according to the Goldwater Institute, which advocated for the legislation. 

Kendra Riley was one of the bill’s advocates. Two of her three young daughters were diagnosed with the rare and fatal genetic brain disease called Metachromatic Leukodystrophy (MLD). To obtain treatment for one of her children, she had to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars and go to Milan, Italy, to get the care for her daughter.

“It brings tears to my eyes thinking of all the other special needs families out there who have always held on to hope for a chance like this. A chance at healing. A chance at a normal life—something every single one of us deserves,” Riley said in a press release earlier this month.

Opponents of the measure argue that there should be more of a “buyer beware” bill, given that experimental treatments could fail, costing the patient money without any recourse.

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Tom Joyce is a contributor to The Center Square.