‘Right to Try’ measure heads to Illinois governor’s desk

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Terminally ill patients would be allowed to try experimental drugs and treatments not yet approved by the federal government under a measure state lawmakers sent Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday.

The “Right to Try” legislation would give patients with terminal illnesses the chance to use investigational drugs, biological products or devices that have gone through the first phase of clinical trials but have not been approved for general use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Senate approved the measure 55-0 with no debate. It passed the House last month and only needs Rauner’s signature to become law.

Sponsoring Sen. Michael Connelly, R-Lisle, has said the bill would allow the terminally ill to have more control about over their treatment options, and prevent people from having to travel to other countries to seek treatment.

Drug company groups have expressed concern with states passing such laws, saying the FDA’s Expanded Access program should be improved instead.

That program gives patients access to experimental treatments, but critics say it has too lengthy of an application process.