- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Terminally ill patients in Indiana will be able to use experimental drugs that are not yet on pharmacy shelves under a new law signed Tuesday by Gov. Mike Pence.

The measure was spearheaded by an unlikely lobbyist: 5-year-old Jordin McLinn, an Indianapolis boy who has a severe form of muscular dystrophy called Duschenne and is not expected to live past age 20. A clinical trial drug has the potential to add decades to his life, but it hasn’t received federal approval and is therefore off limits.

The “right-to-try” law changes that. Effective immediately, patients are able to access to drugs that have passed at least Phase 1 of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval process and are still in the experimental stage. The patient’s doctor must all sign off on the treatment.

“By your courage and compassion, you have brought about and promoted the kind of change in Indiana that will provide much-needed medicines to vulnerable Hoosier families,” Pence said to Jordin and his family, who stood next to the governor as he signed the legislation.

The full federal approval process includes three phases and can take 10 to 15 years to complete. Supporters say the law will help provide hope for those who have no other treatment options.

Indiana is one of eight other states, including Michigan and Missouri, that have either adopted or approved such laws. About two dozen others are considering similar legislation this session.


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