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Maine House Votes to Support "Right to Try" Bill

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine House is supporting a bill that would give dying patients the right to use experimental drugs.

The Maine House on Tuesday gave initial approval to the so-called "right to try'' bill. The vote was 114 to 28.

The legislation would allow patients to use drugs that have passed the first phase of the Federal Drug Administration approval process but remain in clinical trials.

Rep. Patricia Hymanson, a York Democrat and neurologist, said the bill is incompatible with sound medical practice and patient safety.

Rep. Thomas Longstaff, a Democrat from Waterville, an ordained Episcopal priest who worked for six years as a hospital chaplain, said people should have the right to try experimental drugs, even if success is a "long shot.''

The bill now goes to the Maine Senate.