Remembering Charlie Gard, Alfie Evans: House Approves Legislation Which Would Prevent Similar Cases

Alfie Evans and Charlie Gard are two names which rocked the international community over the past year. After the two children were diagnosed with terminal illnesses, their respective hospitals each denied to further treat the children. Despite their parents’ wishes to have taken their child to another hospital – or even another country – for increased care and treatment, the children each lost a legal battle and were essentially victims of UK healthcare laws.

President Trump commented on each of the tragic situations and encouraged Congress to pass legislation preventing something like that from ever occurring in the United States.

They just did.

As Fox News reports, the “Right to Try” bill was approved by both legislative chambers and will be heading to Trump’s desk for final approval:

The vote was seen as a victory for the Trump administration, which supports the plan.

The so-called Right to Try Act of 2017, which the Senate passed nine months ago, cleared the House in a party-line vote of 250-169.

U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., the House bill’s sponsor, called the vote “an enormous accomplishment” that “will give significant hope to many Americans facing terminal illnesses.”

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., the bill’s original sponsor, said in a statement that Tuesday’s House vote “restored a little freedom and hope to terminally ill Americans.”

The measure would help terminally ill patients get access to “investigational medical treatments where no alternative exists,” according to Johnson’s statement.

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“People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure. I want to give them a chance right here at home,” Trump said during his State of the Union address.

The bill’s passage was cheered by Trump, Vice President Pence and others:

Here’s more on the bill, per a Washington Examiner op-ed:

Lawmakers have another chance to make things right by passing “Right to Try” legislation that will give terminally ill patients one more shot at life. Legislation making experimental drugs and treatments accessible for individuals with life-threatening conditions is set to be voted on Tuesday by the House of Representatives.

Thanks to Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., a similar bill passed the Senate last August and is a lead priority for President Trump. Until now it has been in political limbo due to a lack of bipartisan backing.

As the mother of a child with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening illness, I want options when it comes to experimental treatments that could prolong my daughter’s life. But as an American and taxpaying voter, I also want to see Congress working to take morally correct action for the most vulnerable and sickest among us.

Recently, two children of the United Kingdom, Alfie Evans and Charlie Gard, became victims of a failed system that denied them the opportunity to access experimental treatments. As the world watched, their parents emotionally fought to access these unconventional medical options — but in the end, they lost. In America, we must learn from their tragic loss and do right by our own sick individuals who are fighting, against all odds, to stay alive.

Here’s even more, per the Wall Street Journal:

Most patients already get access to unproven medicines under a compassionate-use program overseen by the Food and Drug Administration, agency officials say. But the bill would essentially skirt the FDA’s normal approval process to get trial medicines more rapidly to patients with life-threatening illnesses.

Republicans pushed for the change, which Mr. Trump supported in his State of the Union address, saying it would give patients access to non-FDA-approved drugs before it is too late. Some Democrats and patient groups have argued it would usurp the FDA and leave patients vulnerable to dangerous and possibly sham treatments.

Supporters said the legislation provides essential hope for patients facing terminal illness and that the drugs patients will get access to must have passed initial safety trials.


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