My friend Andrea Sloan is a familiar figure at the Capitol. As the executive director of the Texas Advocacy Project, providing free legal services for low-income women who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Andrea has become a friend over the years, and is a deeply beloved member of our community.
Andrea has been fighting ovarian cancer for seven years, yet she has never lost her relentlessly positive spirit. Now, as she prepares for another round of treatment, she’s trying to gain access to a new drug that her doctors at MD Anderson believe offers significant promise.
The drug, BMN673, is not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration, however the FDA has already indicated that they will grant a waiver for her expanded access, known as “compassionate use” of the drug — butonly if its manufacturer gives her permission to use it.
Unfortunately, the drug’s manufacturer, BioMarin, does not have a policy for these circumstances, and so far they have not yet agreed to give her access to the drug that could save her life.
Andrea has spent her entire life advocating for others. Now, her friends and a growing community known as “Andi’s Army” are advocating for her. So far, over 25,000 people have signed a petition urging BioMarin to give Andrea access to the drug. Her network has also taken to Twitter to ask BioMarin, using the #BMN673 hashtag to advocate for Andrea.
Click here to sign the petition and share it with your friends.
However, as a lawmaker, I want to do more to help Andrea — and raise awareness of other cancer patients like her who are denied access to potentially life-saving drugs.
I am drafting a letter to the California Assembly that I will be encouraging my Texas House colleagues to sign. The letter calls attention to Andrea’s situation in the hopes that they might be able to encourage California-based BioMarin to give Andrea access to the drug that her doctors think provides her the best chance of success.
I urge BioMarin to give Andrea access to this drug, which is already available in the building where she is currently being treated.
Furthermore, Andrea’s story needs to start a broader conversation of how we can make sure all cancer patients have access to the treatments that offer them the best chances of survival. We all have close and personal experiences with cancer, and I don’t know any Texan who wouldn’t do all they can to help a loved one survive this disease.
I’ll remain a stalwart member of Andi’s Army as long as it takes for her to gain access to the treatments she needs. In the meantime, please sign the petition and urge BioMarin to give her access to BMN673.