Experimental drugs that do not yet have full federal approval for clinical trials could be made available to terminally ill Californians under a law signed Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Assembly Bill 1668 clears the way for those drugs to be used for life-threatening diseases for patients who have been unable to gain access to a clinical trial and who have the approval a supervising doctor.
“Terminally ill patients in our state will finally have access to potentially life-saving treatments," said Asemblyman Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) in a statement.
This was Calderon's second attempt to persuade the governor to approve the so-called right-to-try legislation. Brown vetoed an almost identical effort in 2015, suggesting more time was needed to assess new efforts to speed up the federal drug approval process.
Although some patients are already able to get waivers from the federal Food and Drug Administration to try non-approved experimental drugs, the process has been called cumbersome and the waiver sometimes comes too late.
Calderon testified last week before a U.S. Senate committee in favor of experimental drug access. California becomes the 32nd state to enact right-to-try legislation.