How Congress Can Help Ted Kennedy

New bill would give terminally ill access to unproven drugs
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2008 8:00 AM CDT
Edward Kennedy joined by wife Victoria Reggie Kennedy, background, waves as he rides up a pier after going for a sail Monday, June 9, 2008 in Hyannis Port, Mass.   (AP Photo/Joel Page)
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(Newser) – Ted Kennedy has, at best, about two years to live. A drug exists that might extend his life, but Kennedy, and legions of other cancer sufferers, won’t get it because it hasn’t been through Phase III FDA trials. But congress could yet come to the rescue; a bill recently introduced in the Senate would give the terminally ill access to unproven treatments.

“We know from personal experience—having received similar diagnoses for our spouses—what Mr. Kennedy and his family face, and it is our hope that he be given access to any promising treatment,” write activists Steven Walker and Ronald Trowbridge in the Wall Street Journal. “We support that access even if he gets it only because of who he is, a Kennedy and a US senator. Our national shame is that humane access to effective drugs is not available to all with terminal illnesses.”