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'Right to Try' Law Will Give Terminally Ill Patients Access to Experimental Drugs

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a bill that will allow terminally ill patients to request experimental drugs that the Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved.

"Our implementation of the Right to Try Act will build on our long-standing efforts to help patients and families who are facing life-threatening diseases or conditions, in a way that seeks to protect their autonomy, their safety, and the safety of others following in their paths," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

Vice President Mike Pence and many Republicans in Congress had championed the bill, while most Democrats as well as public-health and patient advocacy groups opposed it. Opponents argued that FDA oversight is an important protection for patients and that the "Right to Try" law could give patients false hope.

At the signing ceremony, Trump noted that the FDA approval process can take years, and his administration is trying to streamline the process.

"It takes a long time," he said, adding that terminally ill patients "don't have an abundance of time."