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Experimental Drug Bill Awaits Scott Action

University of Washington Health
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The Florida House this week sent a bill (HB 269) to Gov. Rick Scott that would allow terminally ill patients to have access to experimental drugs.

The bill, filed by Rep. Ray Pilon, R-Sarasota, drew significant discussion during this year's regular legislative session, with Pilon and other supporters saying it could help people with diseases such as cancer.

The bill focuses on drugs that have been through what is known as "phase 1" of a clinical trial but have not been approved for general use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Patients with terminal conditions could have access to the experimental drugs, and the bill --- dubbed the "Right to Try Act" --- would provide liability protections to doctors and drug manufacturers. Scott must act by June 10 on the bill, along with dozens of others he received Tuesday from the House.

Among the other measures, for example, is a bill (HB 751) aimed at preventing potentially fatal overdoses of drugs such as heroin and oxycodone. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Julio Gonzalez, R-Venice, would allow doctors to prescribe a type of drug known as an "opioid antagonist," which can be injected in emergency situations to halt overdoses.

Under the bill, the opioid antagonists could be prescribed to people at risk of overdoses or to their caregivers.