Johnson Calls on Fellow Senators to Pass Bill to Give Terminally Ill Patients Hope

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, held a hearing Thursday on issues of medical innovation underlying his Trickett Wendler Right To Try Act.

During the hearing Johnson called on his fellow senators to cosponsor his bill and give terminally ill patients the right to try to save their own lives. The bill is named after a Waukesha, Wis., woman who died of ALS in 2015. It will ensure that terminally ill patients, their doctors, and pharmaceutical manufacturers are allowed to administer investigational treatments where no alternative exists.

The bill has 41 cosponsors. Senator Johnson plans to ask for unanimous consent on his bill next week on the Senate floor.

“Next week I will be asking the United States Senate to approve the right to try bill under a unanimous consent request. We’ve cleared it on our side and obviously one of the goals of this committee is to provide powerful testimony and convince every United States senator, if they are not willing to cosponsor, I’d certainly love their cosponsorship of this very simple bill that just allows these  state right to try bills to operate, that allow heroes like Dr. Delpassand to give their patients hope. If my Democratic colleagues and my other Republican colleagues aren’t willing to cosponsor, please do not object, so we can pass this bill and give patients and their families the right to hope.”

VIDEO: Watch Johnson’s full opening remarks here.

Cosponsors include:

Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), James E. Risch (R-Idaho), John Boozman (R-Ark.), David Vitter (R-La.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Daniel Coats (R-Ind.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Michael B. Enzi (R-Wyo.), Roger F. Wicker (R-Miss.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Joe Manchin III (D-W. Va.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.)


Feb. 18, 2016: Chairman Johnson’s letter to FDA can be found here.

Feb. 25, 2016: Chairman Johnson held a hearing on Connecting Patients to New and Potential Life Saving Treatments.

Feb. 25, 2016: Chairman Johnson expressed his support for right to try.

March 16, 2016: Letter from Sens. Johnson, Carper, Donnelly and Coats to FDA on can be found here.

April 26, 2016: Chairman Johnson’s statement on FDA panel not approving eteplirsen can be found here.

May 10, 2016: Chairman Johnson introduced the Trickett Wendler Right To Try Act.

May 20, 2016: Chairman Johnson’s and Sen. Coats’ letter to the FDA can be found here.

June 16, 2016: Chairman Johnson advocates for right to try legislation at Capitol Hill rally.

Sept. 16, 2016: Chairman Johnson’s and Sen. Alexander’s letter to the FDA can be found here.

Sept. 19, 2016: Chairman Johnson letter to FDA Commissioner Califf expressing disappointment at his refusal to testify at right to try hearing.

Sept. 19, 2016: Johnson applauds FDA decision to approve eteplirsen to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Sept. 22, 2016: Chairman Johnson will hold a hearing on right to try.

  • Watch the full hearing here.
  • Chairman Johnson’s opening statement can be found here.
  • Witness testimony can be found here.
  • Dr. Delpassand’s statement can be found here.