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Judge Orders Company to Give Test Drug to Dying Teen

Doctors aren't the only ones who can write prescriptions in the US. Yesterday, a federal judge ordered a research group to provide experimental drugs to a terminally ill teen suffering from a fatal type of muscular dystrophy.

The family of Jacob Gunvalson sued PTC Therapeutics alleging that the company led them to believe that Jacob could participate in a trial of the drug necessary for his survival. The company says it denied Jacob because it worried that unsafe results could taint the reputation of the new drug and hold back research. Since Jacob wasn't part of the preliminary trial, he did not qualify for the second round of the drug trial.

PTC maintains that it never promised Jacob an exception. The company's lawyers also argued that terminally ill patients do not have a legal right to unapproved drugs. But Jacob isn't just any terminally ill American. The judge said this case was different because PTC has a particularly close relationship with Jacob and his family, who even stayed overnight once at the company's VP's home.

Should we just take away the need for a lawsuit all together, and allow access to any terminally-ill patient willing to pay for experimental treatment?


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