Some state legislators are trying to make it easier for terminally ill Alaskans to get experimental drugs that have the potential to save their lives.

Right now, Alaskans face a lot of red tape when they’re trying to get experimental medicine not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration. For terminally ill patients, it might be their only hope at a chance of survival.

Rep. Harriet Drummond and Rep. Scott Kawasaki will introduce their “right to try” legislation at the upcoming session. It’s a House companion bill to Senate bill 113 that Sen. Bill Wielechowski introduced in April this year.

Basically, it would allow doctors and hospitals to get their patients possibly life-saving drugs without fear of prosecution. Right now, doctors can’t legally prescribe drugs that are not FDA approved.

That approval can take years — which is too long for many dying patients.

“Terminally ill patients shouldn’t have to ask the government for permission to try to save their own lives,” Drummond said in a phone interview. “If they want to try a drug that may not be finally approved, that should be their right.”

Twenty-four states currently have “right to try” laws.

The bill will be read through on the first day of session in January.

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