The House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare will meet Wednesday, February 11, to hear legislation introduced by its chairman, Rep. Joseph M. McNamara, to allow terminally ill individuals to obtain experimental drugs that have not yet been federally approved but which may be in the final stages of FDA testing.
The hearing will be held in Room 101 of the State House and will begin at the Rise of the House (approximately 5 p.m.).
The “Rhode Island Terminally Ill Patient’s Right to Try Act of 2015,” 2015-H 5093, is similar to laws already enacted in Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Louisiana and Arizona and under consideration in 17 other states.
Under the McNamara bill, a terminally ill patient may make a request for an experimental drug and a manufacturer of an experimental drug, biological produce or device may make it available, but is not required to do so. The legislation provides protections for all parties (patients and medical professionals) and insurance companies are also protected because there is no requirement for them to cover the cost of any investigational drugs.
Also scheduled for a hearing before HEW is House bill 2015-H 5160, by Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick). The bill provides that a mayoral academy charter school’s application may not be approved by the Board of Education unless the school committee and the city/town council of the particular community supports the application.