A Seattle palliative care physician, co-director of an integrative oncology clinic, and a number of his patients with advanced cancer have sued the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in a case seeking to compel the DEA to allow access to psilocybin therapy for patients with serious illness under state and federal Right to Try (RTT) laws. Well-known patient rights advocate Kathryn Tucker, Special Counsel at Emerge Law Group, along with a team of outstanding co-counsel from Perkins Coie, Yetter Coleman, and Vicente Sederberg, represent the Petitioners in AIMS et. al. v. DEA (CA 9 No. 21-70544).
Last week Petitioners’ Opening Brief was filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. On Friday, May 21, 2021, many parties joined this effort by filing amicus briefs in support of the Petitioners including the following:
- Eight States and the District of Columbia (DC):
In their brief, the states and DC are defending their respective duly enacted statutes. States, as primary regulators of the practice of medicine, determine what constitutes legitimate medical practice in that state. For example, the State of Washington enacted its RTT law by unanimous vote in 2017. State amici contend that clear precedent recognizes it is impermissible for the DEA, a federal agency, to nullify duly enacted state statutes governing medical practice.
Link to the States’ and DC’s Amici Brief.
Brionna Aho, email@example.com
- The Cato Institute and the Goldwater Institute:
As the drafters and primary sponsors of RTT laws, the the Goldwater Institute (GI) has special insight into the legislative history of RTT laws, intended reach and scope, the underlying grassroots democratic nationwide movement to enact laws to allow seriously ill patients access to promising investigational drugs.
- The American Civil Liberties Association (ACLU) of WA:
Washington’s leading advocate for civil liberties speaks to the civil liberties implicated in the choice of a dying patient to access an investigational drug in hopes of gaining relief from debilitating anxiety and depression in the final stages of life threatening illness.
Link to ACLU of WA’s Amicus Brief.
- End of Life Washington, the Washington Psychological Association, EvergreenHealth, A Sacred Passage Death Midwifery, Past Presidents of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Dr. Ira Byock, Dr. Timothy Quill, Roland Griffiths PhD, and other prominent end of life care and palliative care physicians and researchers, and patients with advanced illnesses:
The amici address: (i) the prevalence of anxiety and depression in those with life threatening illness; (ii) the devastating impact on both quality and quantity of life; (iii) evidence reflecting that anxiety and depression in those with serious illness reduces treatment compliance, which can shorten life expectancy; (iv) the importance of relief of anxiety and depression for both improved quality and extended quantity of life; and (v) how relief of anxiety and depression could impact patient choices for other end of life options, e.g. Aid in Dying (AID).
Judy Kinney, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Law Professors and Bioethicists:
These academics discuss academic and policy criticisms of RTT laws, elucidating how, even if valid in other contexts, such concerns do not arise in context presented by this case, involving psilocybin as AID for relief of anxiety and/or depression; importance of adding palliative care tool to address anxiety and depression, especially in jurisdictions where patients empowered to choose AID.
Nico van Aelstyn, email@example.com