Rep. Paul proposes end to FDA's blocking of experimental drugs for the terminally ill

"The FDA's approval process for drugs, devices, and treatments is costly and time consuming," he said. "Yet, time is the luxury terminally patients do not enjoy. So why should the FDA deny terminally-ill patients access to drugs, devices, and treatments that the patient's physicians have determined represents the patent's only possible chance for survival?"

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Under his Compassionate Freedom of Choice Act, H.R. 6342, terminally ill patients would be able to access drugs and other treatments not yet approved by the FDA. Access would be conditioned on cetification by doctors that these patients have not other treatment options, and written consent from the patients saying they are aware of the risks.

Paul cited examples of patients who might have beneftted from these drugs, such as Abigail Burroughs, who had head and neck cancer at a young age and was denied access to two drugs not approved by the FDA. "With her only chance of survival denied by the federal government, Abigail passed away on June 9, 2001, at the age of twenty-one," Paul said.

He also cited another girl with cancer whose parents petitioned the FDA for approval to try experimental drugs, but the FDA did not grant her a compassionate use exemption until three weeks before she died.

"It is important to remember that this legislation only applies to otherwise terminally ill patients," he said. "Denying these patents a possible opportunity to cure their illness — or at least reduce their suffering — is nonsensical and cruel."

Two Republicans co-sponsored the bill: Reps. Paul Broun (Ga.) and Richard Hanna (N.Y.).