WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump called on Congress to pass right to try legislation during a speech in Manchester, N.H. today. U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is the lead author of S.204, the Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn, and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act of 2017, which passed the Senate unanimously on Aug. 3, 2017. A House vote in favor of S. 204 would send the bill immediately to the president for his signature.
Johnson had this to say following the speech:
“The President has made it clear he supports giving terminally ill patients the ‘Right to Try’. I implore my House colleagues to pass S.204 and give the right to hope to so many terminally ill patients in America.”
Excerpts from President Trump’s speech on right to try are below and video can be found here:
“It is called right to try. A patient is terminal, there is good progress made with a certain drug, we’re going to make it possible for that patient to get that drug, and maybe it is going to work. It’s hope. It’s incredible. They’ve been talking about this for years and years and years. We’re going to get it approved – so important.”
Sen. Johnson and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) sent a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee in October 2017 encouraging the House to take up the bill immediately. The letter can be found here.
The Johnson-Donnelly bill that passed the Senate in August can be found here.
Thirty-eight states 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.