Missouri Could Allow Experimental Drugs For Terminally Ill

By Matt Lupoli | mlupoli@kolr10.com

Published 06/08 2014 07:31PM

Updated 06/08 2014 11:13PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A bill that could allow terminally-ill patients to try potentially life-saving drugs is one of the bills awaiting a decision from Gov. Jay Nixon.

The "Right to Try" bill would allow access to drugs that have not been given full approval by the FDA.

"If you're terminally ill, it's very frustrating to have the federal government tell you that you can't have access this drug that could potentially save your life," Rep. Eric Burlison said. "They've passed the first phase, so they're not going to kill you ... why not try."

Rep. Eric Burlison chaired a house committee on the bill, It easily passed the House and Senate

"We had a unanimous vote both republicans and democrats," Burlison said.

"This needs to happen quickly because terminally ill patients don't have time," Melissa Heil said in a hearing before house members during the legislative session.

Heil, of Springfield, and her husband gave the legislation their support at the capital by sharing their daughter's story.

"At nine months old she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. We were shocked," she said.

"They're daughter was given access to a clinical trial to a pharmaceutical that was saving her life they are no longer able to get access to that drug," Burlison said.

The bill does not require health insurance to cover the medication, so the right to try would come at the expense of the patient and drug-makers would not be held liable for the result of experimental drug use.

"Why not allow the patient and the doctor to make that decision," Burlison said. "Perhaps it's not for government to decide."

Nixon has not said how he will decide, but he expected to do so by July 14.

Similar legislation was signed into law this year in Colorado and Louisiana.

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