Fate hazy for GOP bill helping dying patients try new drugs


WASHINGTON (AP) – A Republican bill making it easier for terminally ill patients to try experimental drugs faces an uncertain fate due to opposition from a leading House Democrat.

The GOP hopes to push the legislation through the House Tuesday.

The top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee says he’ll oppose the measure. New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone says it would give “false hope” to patients and isn’t needed.

Republicans say the measure is balanced between accessibility and patient safety.

Under the bill, if a doctor and drug maker agree to let a patient with a life-threatening ailment try an experimental treatment, the federal Food and Drug Administration would no longer need to agree.

A government study has found the FDA already approves 99 percent of such requests.