Dayton says he’ll sign experimental drug bill

Published 1:56 pm Saturday, May 2, 2015

ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton said he’ll sign a bill to let terminally ill patients use potentially life-saving experimental drugs.

It’s personal for bill author Rep. Nick Zerwas. The Elk River Republican was planning his funeral at age 15 when a doctor suggested an experimental heart surgery that saved him. His story drew applause on the House floor Friday, and lawmakers passed the bill unanimously. It also passed the state Senate.

Doctors could recommend drugs or treatments under the bill as long as they had passed preliminary federal safety tests. The bill would only affect terminally ill patients who have tried every other treatment option and can’t enroll in a clinical trial.

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A national group pushing the policy said 15 other states already have such “Right to Try” laws.