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Terminal Patient Backs 'Right To Try' Law For Illinois

(CBS) – The push is on in Illinois to provide terminally ill patients with access to experimental drugs before they've been fully approved.

Indiana just passed a similar law. Is it a possible lifeline or simply false hope?

CBS 2's Derrick Blakley reports.

Two years ago, former firefighter Derek Hogg, father of two young boys, got the first the signs: muscle twitches. Soon after, he was diagnosed with ALS -- Lou Gerhig's Disease.

"With ALS … there are zero treatments, no cure. So, you're given three to five years to live, and that's it," he says.

Hogg strongly supports an Illinois bill to provide easier access to experimental drugs, long before FDA approval.

State Rep. Greg Harris, a Chicago Democrat, co-sponsors the so-called "Right to Try" law.

"There will be no other hope for these folks. It is their last chance to live," he says.

But University of Chicago oncologist and ethicist Chris Daugherty cautions it's not that simple.

"The clinical trial process we have had come into existence for a reason, because of past problems, even abuses, in terms of moving too quickly," he says.

Clinical trials can be tough to get into, and take years to get a drug approved. It's time Hogg cannot spare.

"What are my other options? I don't have any," he says.

Harris believes the Illinois bill has a good chance of passage this spring. If the governor signs it, Illinois would join at least six other states that have already passed similar laws.


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