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The Governor Of Colorado Signs Nation’s First ‘Right To Try’ Bill Into Law

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS) – With the governor’s signature Colorado is now the first state to allow terminally ill patients to have access to medication that is not approved by the government.

Gov. John Hickenlooper stated he doesn’t want patients to die knowing there may have been a drug in existence to help them that they couldn’t have.

Ron Patterson is a former engineer who never imagined he could become one of the 600,000 people who die each year from cancer.

“They did blood work, and when he got the results he called me and said, you better get into Poudre Valley Hospital right now. You got something really bad,” said Patterson.

His only option was chemotherapy but Hickenlooper’s signing of the nation’s first “Right To Try” bill into law will provide Patterson with more options.

“Patients should be able to try a treatment even though it hasn’t been approved if it’s an attempt to save their life if they’re in a terminal situation,” said Hickenlooper.

Right now there are over 20,000 safe medications making their way through the Food and Drug Administration approval process but only 3 percent of the sickest patients are eligible for clinical trials.

Grace Taylor with Poudre Valley Hospital says the law could open new doors for terminally ill patients.

“It is frustrating, at times there is regulation that we do have to go through with reason, so hopefully this new bill will help navigate that path a little bit more cleaner, and a little bit more proactively now going forward,” said Taylor.

“It will definitely give people a sense of hope.”

At this point Patterson says he has nothing more to lose in order to gain a fighting chance.

“It just gives me another tool in the war chest to try,” said Patterson.

Hickenlooper also passed another bill into law that educates people on how to take their prescription medications safely.


  • Its Dave Man

    Well good for them. I hate hearing someone say that something may not be safe to try or do in a terminal diagnosis. If the patient is willing to try something I believe it should be up to them and the doctors not the government. Its like a dying patient being denied a steak or a cigarette as a last request because it is not healthy… THEY ARE DYING what harm can it cause !!!!

    It sure seems like Colorado is making ground concerning personal rights where the rest of the states are still wringing their hands trying to decide if they have the courage to be courageous.

  • Jim

    I can understand why there has to be drug approvals for the general safety of drugs but when you are talking about terminal people I support this 100%. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain and it may end up helping the drug get approved with the results that it garners this way..

  • Jeanne

    I wish our governor would be as thoughtful and concerned with those who are ill and need medical care. Instead he has blocked the poor from getting Medicare by turning away free federal funds. I doubt he would ever approve a bill like Colorado’s. When a person is terminally ill he should be allowed to have every chance available for survival. On the same subject, a patient in severe pain should not be denied relief because of foolish ideas about addiction…no pain relieving medication should be withheld even if it is still experimental. We do not even allow our pets to die in excruciating pain.

  • Skillpot

    Come on, Alabama, lets move in the right direction, and bring this, and the Right to Die with Dignity, that is on the books in the State of Oregon! This would be my third attempt, to get the former governor, and legislature to bring the State of Oregon Right to Die with Dignity law in Alabama!

  • Michael

    Colorado is one of the few states trying to give the people back a bit of what was wrongfully taken from them. Freedom. If a patient has nothing else to lose then the government should get out of the way.

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