A bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers has filed a measure that would compel the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to allow seriously ill patients to use psychedelics and cannabis. The bill would clarify that gravely ill individuals have the right to access alternative treatments under federal Right to Try (RTT) laws that allow them to use schedule 1 drugs if they don’t get any relief from traditional treatments.
An RTT policy signed into law by President Donald Trump when he was still in office already grants terminally ill patients access to investigational drugs that have gone through clinical trials, even if they are classified in schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act. However, the DEA refused to allow a Seattle physician to offer psilocybin therapy under RTT laws to patients with terminal conditions in 2021, forcing the doctor to file a series of lawsuits against the agency to compel it to grant psychedelic access to end-of-life patients.
The recent bill would amend existing law to clarify that despite the DEA’s move to reject psilocybin access under RTT laws, end-of-life patients should be able to use such treatments. The Right to Try Clarification Act was introduced by Representatives Nancy Mare and Earl Blumenauer and cosponsored by Representatives Andy Biggs, Lou Correa and Madeline Dean.
Led by Senators Rand Paul and Cory Booker and Representatives Early Blumenauer and Nancy Mae, a prior version of the bill was introduced in Congress last year, but it failed to advance.
Blumenauer said that patients with terminal illnesses have the right to discuss treatments such as psilocybin that could provide long-term relief from symptoms such as anxiety, depression and pain. He noted that such patients had been prevented from accessing beneficial treatments due to federal restrictions for too long and that the proposed bill would finally allow these individuals to try alternative treatments that could provide sustained relief regardless of the classification of the treatments on the Controlled Substances Act.
Forty-one states have Right to Try laws that allow terminally ill patients to access treatments in investigational stages, including psilocybin, Blumenauer said. He added that MDMA and psilocybin have exhibited much medical potential in early clinical trials. Despite this, Blumeauer continued, the DEA has “refused to accommodate” RTT laws and denied end-of-life patients the right to choose their preferred treatments.
If his bill succeeds, it could impact the ongoing case that has seen the DEA field lawsuits from a physician and patients trying to access psilocybin therapy.
Meanwhile, a number of companies, including IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC), are investing millions of dollars into developing therapeutic formulations from cannabis. These formulations could get approved by the FDA if the development process proceeds as the startups hope they will.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/IGC
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