OPINION: Stella on “Right to Try” bill
President Trump signed the “Right to Try” bill into law. Terminally ill patients will have access to drugs that have not won FDA approval for use but have passed the initial phase of review. The first phase of drug evaluations are trials which determine whether or not the drug in question poses any significant safety threats. The next phase is typically the efficacy phase to determine where a drug would be effective treatment. This law gives some degree of hope to individuals who may have been losing hope. It also gives individuals more options when being treated for debilitating diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis. Congressman Foster voted against it.
Frank Pallone Jr (D-N.J.) stated, “By removing FDA oversight, you are counting on physicians and manufacturers to serve as the gatekeeper and protector of patients…” If physicians are not “the gatekeeper and protector of patients,” then who? The patient-physician relationship is one of the most important bonds of trust that exists. As a doctor who has treated terminal patients, I take that relationship seriously. Patients put their trust in our hands to guide them on the best course of action to maintain their health. It is not the government’s job to deem a therapy too risky or decide if potential benefit outweighs potential risks. I believe in the ability of individuals to make choices for themselves.
As the only PhD physicist in Congress, I expected Congressman Foster to consider all sides of the argument. Instead, Congressman Foster chose to play party politics rather than representing those in Congressional District 11.
– Dr. Nick Stella is a candidate for the 11th Congressional District.