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Bill Would Allow Terminally Ill Utahns to Use Experimental Drugs

Andrea Smardon
HB94 House sponsor Gage Froerer (R-8) with Senate sponsor Evan Vickers (R-28) and Craig Handzlik of the Goldwater Institute, a libertarian think tank supporting "Right to Try" legislation in states around the country.

Utah lawmakers unveiled a proposal Tuesday that would let terminally-ill patients obtain experimental drugs that have not been federally approved.

Huntsville Republican Representative Gage Froerer held a press conference at Utah's Capitol to announce the bill he'll sponsor in the upcoming legislative session.

“It proposes to give terminally ill patients the freedom, the choice if you will, to make their own decisions on preservations of life,” Froerer says, “A freedom that I feel is guaranteed to all of us as citizens in the United States in the state of Utah.”

House Bill 94 would grant terminally ill patients access to drugs that have not completed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's full trials but have successfully passed Phase 1, proven not to cause harm. Three Republican state lawmakers spoke in support of the bill, including senator and emergency physician Brian Shiozawa.

“Every day we see patients who are dying from terminal illness, who are critically ill, who have exhausted all of those established and approved methods of therapy,” Shiozawa says. “What this bill will do, it will give those families and patients hope.”

The Goldwater Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Arizona, is pushing the issue in Utah and other states. So-called "Right to Try'' laws have already been approved in five states.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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