Jessa Potvin

Right To Try Movement Is Saving Lives

November 12, 2015

Jessa Potvin

“Should you need the government’s permission to try to save your own life?” Darcy Olsen, President and CEO of the Goldwater Institute, thinks not, and has written a book that she hopes will help save millions of lives.  Her book, “The Right to Try: How the Federal Government Prevents Americans from Getting the Life-Saving Treatments They Need,” presents a compelling case for giving terminally ill Americans the freedom to try experimental medications. Thanks to the efforts of the Goldwater Institute, “Right to Try” legislation has successfully passed in several states, giving patients more power over their healthcare decisions. John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, helped Illinois become a “Right to Try” state and wants to see even more states join Illinois.  Tillman recently wrote a piece that describes how the status quo leaves the terminally ill without options.  He says,

Thousands of Americans will hear from their doctors this year that there are no treatment options left. What that really means is that doctors have exhausted all of the options in the toolbox of approved medicines. Today there are 22 innovative breast cancer treatments awaiting the Food and Drug Administration’s final green light – five of them are already available in Europe. When a person’s life is on the line, they should have the freedom to choose the treatment they pursue. Right now, when traditional treatment fails, people who can afford to can make a trip across the border to seek experimental drugs.

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Sometimes if a person is lucky, this risk pays off, and a death sentence turns into a second shot at life.

That is why the Right-to-Try movement is so important. For every person who lives thanks to alternatives found elsewhere, there are tens of thousands of others who can’t afford to seek experimental treatment.

That’s not fair to the poor, to the disadvantaged or to anyone who just wants a chance. We all should have the freedom to try new treatments that may work.

Thanks to the work of the Goldwater Institute and Tillman’s Illinois Policy Institute, patients like five-year-old Jordan McLinn are now able to gain access to medication that could improve or even save their lives.  You can learn more about Jordan’s story here.

And learn about Darcy Olsen’s book “The Right to Try” here.