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Indiana 'Right To Try' Law Gives Terminally Ill Access To Experimental Drugs

(CBS) -- Imagine this: you're terminally ill and your doctors have tried every available drug and nothing works. Now, Indiana is trying to give hope to those who are dying and hopeless.

CBS 2's Mike Parker reports on what's called the "right to try" law.

Five-year-old Jordan McLinn lent a hand to Indiana Governor Mike Pence as a new state law takes effect that could help Jordan in his fight for life.

Jordan has become the "poster boy" for the state's "right to try" law. It allows doctors to prescribe experimental drugs to terminally ill patients, like Jordan who has muscular dystrophy. They're drugs that have cleared only the first phase of FDA testing.

"This is a great statement about the compassion and care of the people of Indiana for our most vulnerable," said Gov. Pence.

Supporters of the new law say some gravely ill patients can't wait for the full FDA approval process that can take up to 15 years.

Opponents say unapproved drugs can do more harm than good.

The bill was passed unanimously by the Indiana legislature. But a cancer specialist from Methodist Hospital in Merrillville who supports it, says there may be trouble ahead.

"It's a done deal if the drug is going through clinical trials in the USA and the drug company is willing to give it to the physician for those patients."

Although the new law shields drug makers from liabilities, Dr, Barai says the companies may be worried about their future dealings with the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA has taken an attitude toward laws like this one that can be described only as lukewarm.

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