'Right to Try' Prop 303 raises hope and concerns - Tucson News Now

'Right to Try' Prop 303 raises hope and concerns

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Terminally ill patients who want experimental treatment can't always get it locally in Arizona. Trials can mean traveling. That was not what Tracy Beach wanted her mother to do in the last days before her death.

Toni Sodersten was a Bisbee artist diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. Beach watched her mother go through chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Even after her doctor found a drug that he wanted her to try, they did not get a trial until a few years after he suggested it. She ended up dying in California in 2011, after her cancer became too advanced for her to continue to fight it. Beach says that same experimental drug helped a friend in the same situation, but that friend got the treatment earlier. Beach supports Proposition 303, which would allow terminally ill patients to try drugs that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Raymond Woosley, president of CredibleMeds, has wworkedwith experimental treatments, and said that Proposition 303 would open patients to possibly paying for virtually untested substances at a time they're most desperate and at risk.

"It goes against the federal law. So it's going to be tied up in court, but while its tight tied up in court, a lot of very ill, vulnerable people are going to be given things that I've never been tested and could be very dangerous," Dr. Woosly said.

"If she had had quick access instead of all the red tape and trying to get to California, if she had been able to be here in Tucson, and get the access, what would have been different? No guarantees, but she didn't have that chance," Beach said.

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