Court rules against experimental drugs for terminally ill

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Terminally ill patients should not be permitted to obtain experimental drugs, a U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ruled, siding with the Food and Drug Administration.

In a reversal of a May 2006 ruling by a smaller panel of the court, the appeals court ruled that terminally ill patients do not have the right to gain access to unapproved prescription drugs even if they are potentially lifesaving.

The Abigail Alliance for Better Access to Developmental Drugs and the Washington Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit asking the Food and Drug Administration to approve experimental medications that appear effective and allow for their sale and distribution to terminally ill patients. The FDA, response, stated that such a waiver would lead to unacceptable risk. The current ruling came after the FDA appealed a three-judge panel's decision.

The opinion is at http://www.cadc.uscourts.gov.
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