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Gov. Brown signs into law the 'right-to-try' experimental drugs

A vial of unnamed prescription drugs.
A vial of unnamed prescription drugs.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed into law "right-to-try" legislation that will give certain terminally ill Californians access to experimental drugs not yet approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. 

The new law, authored by Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), allows drug makers to give terminally-ill patients access to investigational treatments that have passed basic safety testing.

Patients must meet a number of requirements to qualify for the program, including that they have only a matter of months to live and that two doctors recommend they try the experimental drug.

The passage of the measure caps a two-year effort by Calderon. Last year, Brown vetoed similar legislation Calderon authored.  The governor said he did so because he first wanted to see whether changes in the FDA's Compassionate Use program reduced the minimum 30-day wait for experimental drugs.

And while the feds did streamline some parts of that program, patient wait times remained the same, the bill's supporters say. 

California now joins 31 other states that have similar right-to-try laws on the books. They are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.