The House passed the so called “Right to Try” bill on Wednesday evening. The vote was roughly along party lines, 267-149 with 35 Democrats supporting the bill and 2 Republicans opposed.
Republicans had attempted to pass the bill last week using and expedited procedure that required two-thirds vote. Though Democrats were able to sink the bill under the expedited procedure there was little doubt it would pass when brought back under normal procedures.
Democrats continue to express concern over the bill. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said right-to-try doesn’t address what is often the real barrier to experimental drugs – drug company resistance.
Four former FDA commissioners who served under Repubican and Democratic presidents echoed these concerns. They released a statement that said, “there is no evidence” that either the House or Senate bill “would meaningfully improve access for patients, but both would remove the FDA from the process and create a dangerous precedent that would erode protections for vulnerable patients.”
There is also concern that the bill is part of a broader effort to undermine the FDA and give drug companies more leeway in how they market and sell their products.