A “Right To Try” bill that allows families to use prescription drugs that don’t have full FDA approval passed the U.S. Senate last week with unanimous support. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) helped author the legislation, modeled after an Indiana state law, with encouragement from a Hoosier mother and her son.
Jordan McLinn, 8, became the face of Indiana’s “Right To Try” bill in 2015. Last year his mother, Laura McLinn, visited Donnelly to lobby for a federal version.
“I actually brought with me a binder full of letters from Hoosiers who wanted the right to try,” Laura McLinn says. “And he didn’t even have to look at it, he looked at Jordan heard our story and said ‘I’m in.’”
Jordan has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a condition with a life expectancy of just 25 years. Donnelly says the bill will help families like Jordan’s.
“If you are in a terminal condition you can take it, you can use this medication and see if it’s going to work,” Donnelly says. “It’s the basis of America, the right to choose, the right to try.”
Indiana is one of 37 states that have passed similar legislation.
Donnelly says the McLinn family has been instrumental in expanding legislative efforts.
“Their family has been bulldogs on this. They have never wavered; never thought that it wouldn’t happen,” says Donnelly.
The federal law would make it legal in all states. It now goes to the House.
Jordan is currently part of a clinical trial and receives infusions once a week in Chicago.