|July 2022||Maximixe your HSA e-Newsletter||Vol. 18, Issue 13|
Psilocybin and the Terminally Ill: Why the “Right to Try” Is an Essential Healthcare freedom
What Is the Right to Try?
The so-called “right to try” movement is precisely what it sounds like – a push to allow individuals, particularly terminally ill people, such as those suffering from end-stage cancer, to try medications they feel might be promising in alleviating their pain and suffering or even improving their healthcare situation.
When Was the Right to Try Act Passed?
The Right to Try Act was originally signed into law on May 30, 2018. The FDA explains, “this law is another way for patients who have been diagnosed with life-threatening diseases or conditions who have tried all approved treatment options and who are unable to participate in a clinical trial access to certain unapproved treatments.”
Why Is Healthcare Freedom Necessary?
Why was the Right to Try Act even necessary? You only need to look at the pharmaceutical landscape to realize that drugs must move through a labyrinthine licensing process that can take decades. For patients waiting for promising medications to finally receive FDA approval and become available, that might be a death sentence. The Right to Try Act frees people, specifically those who are terminally ill, to try medications that might not yet be FDA approved or might not be FDA-approved for a specific treatment (so-called “off-label” use).
The Example of Psilocybin
Psilocybin, the active component in “magic mushrooms” has been shown in laboratory testing and through scientific studies, such as this one published in the journal Nature, to offer a wide range of benefits for patients when taken in small doses (micro-dosing), including help combatting:
- Bipolar disorder
- Opioid addiction
- Eating disorders
Several studies have shown that the compound may profoundly help terminally ill patients with fear and anxiety about their situation
Unfortunately, the DEA is not living up to its own standards in this situation. Across the US, terminally ill patients have been blocked from accessing medical-grade psilocybin even though federal and state laws permit it.
The fight for the right to try is not just about psilocybin. It’s about an individual’s right to control their own care. Healthcare freedom is no less important than the freedom to vote, the freedom of speech, or the freedom of religion.
How to Make Use of Right to Try Laws
Controlling your own healthcare is critical, but how do you make use of Right to Try laws? The first step is to make sure that you’re eligible since the act only applies to specific individuals. To be eligible under the Right to Try Act, you must:
Have a life-threatening disease or qualifying health condition
- Have documented proof that you have tried all approved options and have not been able to participate in a clinical trial involving the desired treatment
- Have your doctor’s certification that you have exhausted your treatment options without avail
- Have given written informed consent to the doctor regarding the treatment in question
If you meet the qualifications above, the next step is to determine if the treatment you want to try is available under the Right to Try Act. It must meet specific criteria, including being under clinical trial investigation.
You’ll also need to contact the manufacturer of the drug. These manufacturers are not required to provide access to the treatment, so even though you have the right to try, that right does not supersede the manufacturer’s right to control how and when their treatment is used.
Usually, working with your doctor is the best approach, as your doctor can communicate and work with the manufacturer to secure the treatment you wish to try.
Healthcare Freedom Should Be the Rule, Not the Exception
While rules and regulations help to ensure medications are safe for general use and that medical practitioners, pharmaceutical companies, and other entities all act aboveboard, too much regulation can leave people suffering. Individuals, particularly terminally ill patients struggling with the end-stage of a devastating disease like cancer, deserve the right to control their own healthcare and explore options that may offer relief from suffering and symptoms.
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To your health and wealth,
Wiley P. Long, III
President - HSA for America
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