From my perspective, there’s more than I can do justice to in the few minutes I have, so I’ll tl;dr it:
Most drugs have side effects, and these can range from harmless to serious. A drug that imparts little or no benefit means negative side effects for nothing. Patients on aducanamab have to be monitored for brain bleeding. For something that maybe works.
Right to Try is a bit of BS, frankly. First, companies developing drugs can do a lot to enable access. From opening new studies to compassionate use. That’s legal now. But companies are on the hook for whatever happens with their drug during the clinical phase (and after). So when a terminal patient takes something under the “might as well” approach, this can have serious repercussions for the drug development. As a result, companies are loathe to allow this. And right to try doesn’t mean forcing a company to allow access. So in a sense, you already have a right to try, but the company has a right to refuse. And they will exercise that right 99% of the time
Aducanamab costs $54,000 per year. There are 500,000 new Alzheimers cases/year in the US. Do the math. On something that may not work. That’s a cost borne by society one way or another, and it’s one thing if it works. Entirely another if it’s a waste of money.
Finally, under the practice of medicine, any physician can prescribe any drug for any reason. Qadop can decide his alzheimer’s patients would be better served with daily doses of Viagra. So nothing stops “right to try” on the approved side. The insurers may not pay for it, and Qadop may be held to account for his decision, but he can do it (FTR, I am NOT a doctor).
That’s my issue with the “We really need something” argument. You need something that works. Things that don’t aren’t harmless. Economically or physiologically.