Maine: New England’s 1st ‘right to try’ experimental drugs


AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine is the first state in New England to give dying patients the right to use experimental drugs.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage signed legislation Wednesday that allows terminally ill patients to use treatments that have not received final approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The bill stipulates that doctors and drug companies wouldn’t be held liable for any harm; it does not require insurance companies to pay for the treatments, which will be available to patients expected to live less than six months.

Maine joins 24 other states that have similar laws.

The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Thomas Longstaff, a Waterville Democrat who had worked as a hospital chaplain. It goes into effect 90 days after the Maine Legislature adjourns for the year.