Governor Wolf Signs Legislation Authorizing “Right to Try,” Allows Terminally Ill Patients to Seek Experimental Treatments

October 11, 2017

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation that gives terminally ill patients the right to try experimental treatments, such as investigational drugs, biological products and medical devices, not yet fully approved by the FDA.

“I have supported and will continue to support legislation that gives patients power in their health care decisions,” Governor Wolf said. “At no time is that more important than when faced with a terminal illness. Having the chance to try all options can offer hope and better quality of life for many.”

House Bill 45 was introduced by Representative Bob Godshall and was passed unanimously by both the House and Senate. Sen. Chuck McIlhinney sponsored the bill in the Senate.

Eligible patients are those with a terminal illness attested to by their treating physician, unable to participate in a clinical trial, who have a recommendation from their physician to try the investigational product, and have given full informed consent.

The law also gives health care providers immunity when recommending the use of an investigational product and protects them from professional licensure sanctions. Thirty-seven other states have laws similar to Pennsylvania’s.

The law does not provide for health care coverage for those participating in the experimental treatments, but a manufacturer may elect to provide them to an eligible patient without receiving compensation.


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