Michigan Passes “Right To Try” Law, Allows Terminally Ill to Access Investigative Drugs

A law that exists in three states today to allow terminally ill patents the right to try investigational medicines was adopted in Michigan this week, making it the fourth state to allow this right. 

The “Right To Try Act,” was passed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder late last week. It allows terminally ill patients to try drugs that have passed the first phase of Food and Drug Administration approval, but have yet to pass the stages necessary to be sold on the open market in the U.S. 

These “investigational medicines” may still be years away from FDA approval, but advocates of the laws say patients should have the right to “save their own lives.”


“Terminally ill people don’t have time to wait for new drugs to make their way through the decade-long approval process. Right To Try lets patients work directly with their doctors to access promising investigational medicines now,” said Darcy Olsen, President of advocacy non-profit the Goldwater Institute. 

The law sparked debate earlier this year when it passed in Colorado, Missouri and Louisiana, but passed with overwhelming support in Michigan. 

Arizona voters will vote on the measure in November with the Goldwater Institute leading the initiative. 


In the states where the law has passed, patients can seek permission to access investigational medicines through a “compassionate use” process. According to the Goldwater Institute, fewer than 1,000 people annually receive the approval. 

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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