This Wednesday, the Public Health Committee will hold a public hearing on H.B. 5270, An Act Concerning the Right to Try Experimental Drugs, which would help terminally ill patients who don’t qualify for research trials or “compassion exemptions” gain access to potentially lifesaving treatments. Nearly  half the states have now adopted ‘Right to Try’ laws. We support the Right to Try bill (click here to read our testimony from last year).

As if to demonstrate exactly what this bill means to people facing terminal diagnoses, some astonishing news from the world of cancer research arrived last week: a very early trial using immunotherapy — re-engineering patients’ own immune systems — appears to have put 90% of the trial subjects, whose leukemia resisted every traditional therapy and who were expected to die within 2-5 months, in complete remission.

Obviously there will need to be adjustments, further study, and long-term evaluation. However, considering the circumstances, those odds don’t look bad at all.

If, as it has been reported, we will not be plagued by another attempt to legalize assisted suicide this year, we instead have an opportunity to help pass legislation that would be positive and beneficial for the people of our state.

The Public Health Committee is accepting written testimony now. Public hearing instructions:

The Public Health Committee will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 11:00 A.M. in Room 1D of the LOB. The Committee is accepting electronic testimony via email at Please submit electronic testimony in Word of PDF format no later than 12:00 P.M. Tuesday, February 23, 2016. If you are unable to submit electronic testimony, please submit 10 copies of written testimony no later than 8:30 A.M. on Wednesday, February 24, 2016, in Room 3000 of the LOB. Please submit separate testimony for each bill. Testimony received after the deadline will not be available until after hearing. Sign-up for the hearing will begin at 9:00 A.M. on the First floor Atrium of the LOB. The first hour of the hearing is reserved for Legislators, Constitutional Officers, State Agency Heads and Chief Elected Municipal Officials. Speakers will be limited to three minutes of testimony. Bills will be heard in the order listed in the bulletin. Unofficial sign-up sheets have no standing with the committee.

H.B. 5270 is 4th out of 23 bills on the agenda.

To see a list of Public Health Commitee members, click here.