Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 463–466 | Cite as

A Response to Meyerson’s Defence of the American Right to Try

Experimenting with hope
  • Oliver KimEmail author
Critical Response


This comment responds to a defence of the right to try, a law adopted by the United States and many state governments that seeks to expand access to experimental drugs. In defending the right to try, Meyerson argues that it is part of a broader rights-based approach for patient access to innovation. But a drug that is still part of the experimental process may not be an innovation—indeed, it may be a failure and even harmful or dangerous. Further, this approach does not weigh other rights that may be at stake such as the property rights of the drug maker or the rights of future patients seeking access to cures. Lastly, research has found that many patients often fail to receive recommended treatments and preventive care from their providers, let alone experimental or innovative therapies. These policy problems suggest that there is a need for patients to have a greater involvement and role in their care and in how research funding is made, but the right to try fails to address these problems.


Bioethics Right to try End-of-life issues Prescription drugs 



The author would like to thank Tina Cockburn, Kim Love, Lois Magner, and Kim Trzeciak for their assistance and recommendations in developing this commentary.


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Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Pittsburgh School of LawWashington, DCUSA

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