DiCiccio: 'Right to try' an important ballot measure in Nov. - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Neighbors

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DiCiccio: 'Right to try' an important ballot measure in Nov.

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Posted: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 10:45 am

This November you will be voting on an important issue and there is a very good chance you are not even aware of it.

Each election cycle, the Arizona voters are faced with decisions on upcoming ballot propositions. The importance of this one cannot be overstated.

The “Right to Try” initiative will give terminally ill patients the opportunity to win their hard battle to live by giving them access to critical medical treatments. Medical care is easily available in other countries, but because of bureaucratic red tape some drugs are being held from patients. It often takes 10-15 years before the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) will approve a drug here in the United States.

Many terminal patients don’t have 10 or 15 years to wait for care. The FDA does provide a “compassionate use” program, however, that is only available to 1,000 people a year and often times takes many months to complete the approval.

Time is absolutely critical in combating a terminal illness, which for terminal patients is a finite luxury that they simply do not have. As a result, it’s even more critically important that we do everything in our power to move the bureaucracy out of the way. It’s time we let people who are terminally ill choose their own medicine.

This has already passed with bi-partisan support in four states. Arizona will be the first state taking it directly to the voters.

The initiative has several safeguards already built in to the law. One, the treatment must have already passed phase one testing by the FDA. Second, the medication must remain in an ongoing clinical trial — meaning that if serious safety concerns develop at a later stage, which cause the FDA to discontinue the trial, the medication would no longer be available under “Right to Try.”

Imagine what this does to those seeking help and the only way is by traveling to other countries. Additionally, this will help those who don’t have the financial means to do such extensive traveling.

Equally important, imagine what this will do for our health care industry and the jobs that it will create here in Arizona. Medical facilities will gravitate to our state and the patients who normally would travel to Europe now will come to Arizona.

All of this would help those get critical treatment and bring jobs to our state. Please be sure to read the initiative for yourself.

• Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio represents District 6, which includes Ahwatukee Foothills. Reach him at council.district.6@phoenix.gov or (602) 262-7491.

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