Congress and the FDA have met numerous times over recent years to discuss experimental medication and/or treatments to terminally ill patients. Judge Thomas Griffith’s opinion in a recent case has provided the public with an insight as to where the law currently stands on such an issue.
Terminally ill patients do not have a constitutional right to access experimental drugs, a divided federal appeals court ruled today. The case, initiated by a coalition of patients, had been framed in terms of streamlining the FDA approval process — which can take years — to accommodate illnesses that kill in much less time.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that “there is no fundamental right ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition’ of access to experimental drugs for the terminally ill.”
Many are troubled by this opinion;
The Abigail Alliance for Better Access to Developmental Drugs argued that there is a “different risk-benefit tradeoff facing patients who are terminally ill and who have no other treatment options.” The right to life, as articulated in the Constitution, grants terminally ill patients the ability to punch through the regulatory layers, however beneficial, the group claimed.
This proceeding has sparked wide-spread attention and those who oppose the court ruling show no signs of waving the white flags as to their “right” to receive experimental drugs.