WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, appeared on Sharyl Attkisson’s ‘Full Measure’ Sunday to discuss his Right to Try legislation that is currently pending in the House of Representatives. Right to try legislation ensures that terminally ill patients, their doctors, and pharmaceutical manufacturers are allowed to try investigational treatments when no alternatives exist.
Excerpts from Senator Johnson’s appearance are below and video can be found here.
“It’s hope. I mean bottom line, it’s hope for terminally ill patients that have nowhere else to turn.”
“One of the namesakes on right to try, Matt Bellina, former Navy pilot, has ALS and he has two drug manufacturers that have experimental drugs that would qualify, that they will give him access to with right to try once they have that liability protection. They won’t give him access to that under the expanded access program with the FDA. Matt Bellina is saying, a vote against right to try, is literally a vote to kill me.”
“In the Senate one hundred percent of Senators, we passed this by unanimous consent, and then it moved over to the House and they didn’t act on it.”
“There are forces in the House, I can’t identify them, that are trying to undermine this. I’m afraid that every day that goes by, those forces might become more and more successful. This is our opportunity…it was Representative Pallone that lobbied against it, as did former Speaker Pelosi. If Democrats get control of the House, right to try dies, and that would be a travesty.”
“It makes no sense to me why anybody would be opposed to this, it’s about freedom, this is about hope.”
The Johnson-Donnelly bill that passed the Senate by unanimous consent on Aug. 3, 2017, can be found here.
Forty states already have passed right to try bills on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis.
Details on Johnson’s right to try work can be found below:
Feb. 18, 2016: Johnson’s letter to the FDA can be found here.
Feb. 25, 2016: Johnson held a hearing on connecting patients to new and potential life saving treatments.
Feb. 25, 2016: Johnson expressed his support for right to try.
March 16, 2016: Letter from Sens. Johnson, Carper, Donnelly and Coats to the FDA on can be found here.
April 26, 2016: Johnson’s statement on an FDA panel not approving eteplirsen can be found here.
May 10, 2016: Johnson introduced the Trickett Wendler Right to Try Act.
May 23, 2016: Johnson’s and Sen. Coats’ letter to the FDA can be found here.
June 16, 2016: Johnson advocates for right to try legislation at a Capitol Hill rally.
Sept. 16, 2016: Johnson’s and Sen. Alexander’s letter to the FDA can be found here.
Sept. 19, 2016: Johnson letter to FDA Commissioner Califf expressing disappointment at his refusal to testify at a right to try hearing.
Sept. 19, 2016: Johnson applauds an FDA decision to approve eteplirsen to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Sept. 22, 2016: Johnson held a hearing on right to try.
Sept. 22, 2016: Johnson calls on fellow senators to pass bill to give terminally ill patients hope.
Sept. 26, 2016: Johnson calls on Senate to support right to try legislation.
Sept. 28, 2016: Johnson criticizes partisan blocking of bill for terminally ill patients.
Sept. 29, 2016: Johnson corrects the record in letter to Minority Leader Reid after right to try bill is blocked.
Oct. 24, 2016: After FDA’s silence, Johnson presses HHS for answers on right to try laws.
Nov. 16, 2016: 44th senator co-sponsors legislation giving terminally ill patients hope.
Jan. 24, 2017: Johnson re-introduces Trickett Wendler Right to Try Act with 39 original co-sponsors.
Oct. 2, 2017: Johnson and Donnely write letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Feb. 2, 2018: President Trump encourages Congress to pass Right to Try.
March 21, 2018: Johnson statement on House passage of House version of Right to Try.