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The Right to Try

How the Federal Government Prevents Americans from Getting the Lifesaving Treatments They Need

About the Book

Why should you need the government’s permission to save your own life?

Jenn McNary’s sons, Max and Austin, were diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy—a fatal disorder that leads to muscle degeneration and eventually death. Max received access to a clinical trial; Austin didn’t. As a result, Max was able to get out of his wheelchair and play on his school soccer team while Austin continued to deteriorate until he could not even feed himself.

The FDA takes as long as fifteen years to approve a new drug, demanding near-absolute proof of effectiveness before allowing commercial distribution. But this ignores the urgent plight of millions of terminally ill Americans who have run out of approved options—and are running out of time. These patients are not looking for a 100 percent guarantee that a treatment will work for them. They are looking for a fighting chance. 

Author and activist Darcy Olsen, former president of the Goldwater Institute, tells the remarkable story behind the Right to Try movement, the national campaign to give dying Americans access to cutting-edge treatments that are under study but still years away from receiving the FDA’s green light. Through their efforts, the number of states with Right to Try laws is now thirty-three and counting.

The men, women, and children featured in these pages are our own family members, friends, and neighbors. Their heartbreaking, triumphant, and inspirational stories prove the necessity for Right to Try laws. Because everyone deserves the right to try.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“Bureaucratic inefficiency and obduracy are always infuriating. When the Food and Drug Administration is involved, they can be lethal. Using true stories, some heroic and others heartbreaking, Darcy Olsen, one of America’s foremost policy intellectuals, demonstrates the urgency of establishing the “right to try.” —George F. Will

“[Olsen] makes a convincing case that the slow pace of the Federal Drug Administration’s development and approval process for new medications is needlessly costing lives…. High-quality advocacy certain to stir debate. ” —Kirkus

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062407535
  • ISBN 10: 0062407538
  • Imprint: Harper Paperbacks
  • On Sale: 12/12/2017
  • Pages: 336
  • List Price: 19.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: MEDICAL / Health Policy
  • BISAC2: POLITICAL SCIENCE / Commentary & Opinion
  • BISAC3: POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / General

The Right to Try by Darcy Olsen

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