GOP senator: 'Right to try' drug bill isn't 'the Wild West'

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGraham vows Biden, Ukraine probe after impeachment trial GOP warns of 'drawn out' executive privilege battle over Bolton testimony  Senate Republicans confident they'll win fight on witnesses MORE (R-Wis.) argued on Hill.TV that "right to try" legislation, which gives terminally ill patients access to experimental medical treatments that haven't been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is safe and regulated. 

“They’ve already passed Phase 1 Safety [trials]. Now, that isn’t the be-all end-all, but it shows it’s certainly safe enough to continue the clinical trials," Johnson, who is the chief sponsor of the bill, told Kystal Ball and Buck Sexton on "Rising." 

"These are terminal patients, they have no other alternative. They’re facing the end of their life and it’s up to them to assess that risk, working with their doctors,” he continued.

"This isn’t the Wild West, this isn’t snake oil, these are drugs that really are promising, or else the drug manufacturers wouldn’t be engaged in the very expensive FDA process.” 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir MORE signed the legislation, which was considered a major priority for congressional Republicans as well as the administration, last May.

Democrats and many public health groups have opposed the measure, saying it gives patients false hope, and could potentially put them in danger. 

“FDA oversight of access to experimental treatments exists for a reason — it protects patients from potential snake oil salesmen or from experimental treatments that might do more harm than good,”  Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said. 

— Julia Manchester