Forest resident weighs in on Pres. Trump's call for a federal 'Right to Try' bill
FOREST, Va. (WSET) - "I've known people like this. They travel all over the world to try and find a cure. And we have great experimental drugs, but it will be years before they come on to the market," said President Donald Trump, who spoke at a GOP retreat in West Virginia on February 1, 2018.
He urged Congress to pass a 'Right to Try' bill, which would allow terminally ill patients the right to use experimental drugs.
Forest resident Donna StClair is one of countless people who have helplessly watched their loved ones die from incurable diseases, so she knows first hand why people who are terminally ill would want to try anything.
Her husband Bruce had several forms of dementia, including Alzheimers and Lewy Body.
Virginia has a Right To Try law. However, she couldn't get a doctor to prescribe experimental drugs, so she broke the law and went offshore to get one.
This was despite the warning label indicating he could have a heart attack and die. It was a risk she was willing to take, although it didn't prevent his death.
StClair says it's good President Trump is pushing Congress to pass a federal Right to Try law, but she admits it's not that simple.
"There's a big difference between having the availability of a drug and having the affordability of a drug, and to my knowledge, there's not an insurance policy on earth that's going to pay for an experimental drug," she said.
Since experimental drugs can cost tens of thousands of dollars a year out of pocket, StClair said you can't just pass a law and think it will fix the problem.
She said it requires a diverse group of caregivers, pharmaceutical companies, lawmakers and others to create a solution.