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No Experimental Drugs for the Terminally Ill

August 8, 2007

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled Tuesday that terminally ill patients do not have a constitutional right to use experimental drugs that have passed limited safety trials but have not been proven safe and effective under requirements from the Food and Drug Administration. According to the appeals court, the plaintiffs – the Abigail Alliance for Better Access to Developmental Drugs and the Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) – argued in their lawsuit that the FDA’s "lengthy clinical trials, combined with the ’FDA’s restrictions on pre-approval availability, amount to a death sentence for … [terminally ill] patients.’" The plaintiffs also argued that "the FDA’s exceptions to the clinical testing process" do not "provide the terminally ill the access they need."

Paper Chase: Federal appeals court rejects right to experimental drugs for terminal patients

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