House Committee Votes On Drug Access For Terminally Ill

February 14, 2014

(Photo courtesy of the Arizona State Legislature)
Rep. Kelly Townsend sponsored the bill.

Some chance is better than none. That is the theory behind a House Committee’s vote Thursday to allow terminally ill patients to get drugs that have yet to be approved for use. The vote came after testimony from Steven Walker about the cancer death of his wife over a decade ago.  Walker said she was denied access to drugs that have since been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

“We knew they worked,” Walker said. “The FDA probably knew they worked, but they were more focused on their process than they were on delivery.”

The measure drew objections from some lawmakers who say the unproven drugs just give patients false hope, but Rep. Kelly Townsend said that misses the point.

“The person has no other hope,” Townsend said. “So I think they should have that ability to make that decision on their own, to go ahead and make that last-ditch effort. That's their human right to do that.”

Under the bill, voters would have the final say on the idea in November.