Will the Right to Try Act (“RTT”) Increase the Risk of Predatory Drug Companies Taking Advantage of the Terminally-Ill?
No! Here’s why:
The RTT contains safeguards and the proper checks and balances to protect against possible exploitation by drug manufacturers:
the patient must obtain the approval of a specialist physician;
the patient must sign a comprehensive informed consent prior to being approved for treatment to ensure that he or she fully understands the nature of that treatment and the risks associated therewith;
in making the recommendation, a physician cannot escape liability if he or she is grossly negligent or engages in willful misconduct, i.e., a physician is required to perform adequate due diligence prior to making a recommendation.
the Minister of Health must make regulations for the filing of all necessary information, which would presumably include the patient’s medical history, the nature and cost of the proposed treatment, dosing, side-effects and therapeutic efficacy, if any.
The “risk” already exists under the SAP and is ever-present in our day-to-day lives as terminally-ill patients.
for example, we can theoretically travel to countries such as Mexico, India and Lebanon, to name a few, and spend thousands of dollars to undergo unproven and likely ineffective stem cell therapies and treatments – most of us have not done this due to the risk, cost and potential harm involved;
there are also many unregulated nutritional supplements currently being marketed to ALS patients which claim to have some therapeutic benefits;
the decision to explore any of these treatments/products is made on an individual basis without any government involvement whatsoever.
Most terminally-ill patients are entirely capable of making rational and informed decisions, and any suggestion to the contrary is both insulting and condescending.
THEREFORE, any argument contending that Canada will become the “wild west” of medical experimentation if our proposal becomes law holds little weight.