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Right to Try Laws Offer Hope for the Terminally Ill

In 2001, Abigail Burroughs lost her battle to cancer at the age of 21. After exhausting all conventional treatment options, her oncologist urged the Food and Drug Administration to allow Abigail to try Erbitux. At the time, Erbitux was not formally approved by the federal regulatory agency, and Abigail was denied a potentially life-saving treatment option.

Ten days before she passed, Abigail spoke with a television news crew, hoping her story would inspire changes to the FDA’s restrictions on experimental drug access. “This is not just about me,” she said. “I am trying to help so many others.”

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Raymond J. March is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and Assistant Professor of Economics at San José State University.