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Johnson’s Right to Try Legislation Fails in Senate

Sen. Ron Johnson tried, but failed, to have the Senate approve Right to Try legislation by unanimous consent Wednesday.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) objected to S. 2912, legislation from the Wisconsin Republican that would provide experimental drugs to terminally ill patients. The bill would increase access to drugs that have cleared initial safety tests but are not approved by the FDA.

More than two-dozen states have implemented their own Right to Try laws. Johnson says the effort is bipartisan, both at the state and federal level.

“All I am asking is that no senator stand up and object to providing a little bit of freedom, a little bit of hope, to patients who simply have no other avenue,” he said on the floor.

Reid said he objected to the bill, in part because the measure hasn’t been the subject of a hearing to discuss provisions of the bill that aren’t satisfactory to some players. Johnson has held hearings on the measure in the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, which he chairs, though the legislation is under the jurisdiction of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

“There are major players in this that simply have not had an opportunity to tell us what’s wrong with the bill,” Reid said. “They’ve told me personally.”