U.S. House approves ‘right to try’ legislation inspired by Indiana boy

Jordan McLinn

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House passed a bill Wednesday that would allow seriously ill patients to take experimental treatments that have not yet been approved by the FDA.

Vice President Mike Pence and Indiana lawmakers backed the “right to try” bill on behalf of Jordan McLinn, an Indiana boy with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The House approved the measure 267 to 149. The bill, formally titled the Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn, and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act of 2018, is named in part for McLinn, who has traveled to Washington to advocate for the bill’s passage.

Indiana has a similar law on the books. While serving as Indiana’s governor, Pence signed the state’s version into law in 2015. McLinn was at Pence’s side during the signing ceremony.

All of Indiana’s representatives voted in favor of the bill, including Rep. Pete Visclosky and Rep. Andre Carson, who were among a minority of Democrats to approve it.

Republican representatives Jackie Walorski, Jim Banks, Todd Rokita, Susan Brooks, Luke Messer, Larry Bucshon and Trey Hollingsworth also voted in favor of the right to try legislation.

The House bill allows patients who are terminally ill to try treatments that have gone through preliminary testing in humans. The patients would have to be ineligible for clinical trials and must have tried other available treatment options.

The Senate passed a different version of the bill in August. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., introduced that legislation. Lawmakers in both chambers will have to resolve the differences between the two versions.