'Right to try' treatments approved by Iowa Senate

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DES MOINES — The Iowa Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a bill that would make it easier for terminally ill patients to try experimental drugs.

The “Right to Try Act” would permit manufacturers of investigational drugs, biological products or devices to make available and eligible patients with terminal illnesses to attempt treatment with an experimental drug, biological product or device as long as they provided written informed consent.

“Senate File 2198 is a bill about hope,” said Sen. Jeff Danielson, D-Waterloo, who managed the bill during floor debate that led to a 50-0 outcome.

The bill now moves to the House.

Under the bill, an eligible patient’s physician must acknowledge that the patient’s illness is terminal and recommend the patient try an investigational drug, biological product or device.

Dating violence

In other action, senators voted 50-0 to require Iowa school boards to include age-appropriate and research-based information regarding dating violence and prevention in their human growth and development curriculum for high school students. Senate File 2195 included instruction on “affirmative, conscious and voluntary consent to engage in sexual activity” as part of its provisions.

“This is a major crisis,” said Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, who used national data to calculate that more than 11,000 Iowa teenagers had experienced some form of physical dating violence.

The bill now goes to the House.

Human trafficking

Senators also voted 50-0 to approve a measure seeking to establish an office within the state Department of Public Safety to oversee efforts to combat human trafficking in Iowa.

Child endangerment

In addition, senators voted 50-0 to expand the statute of limitations on bringing criminal charges of child endangerment involving victims under the age of 14 or those under 18 who have mental or physical disabilities.

Current law requires charges to be brought within three years of a crime’s commission. Senate File 2183 would extend that to 10 years after the victim’s 18th birthday.

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