House approves bill aimed to help aid terminally ill people

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House has approved a Republican bill making it easier for terminally ill people to use unproven treatments.

The measure would let a doctor and pharmaceutical maker agree to let a patient use a drug that has not cleared federal Food and Drug Administration testing. The agency currently must approve for that to happen. Republicans say the measure would bring fresh hope to desperate patients.

Democrats say the legislation ignores the real hurdle: drug company reluctance to letting their products be used that way. They say the FDA already approves of 99 percent of such requests from doctors and pharmaceutical firms.

Wednesday's vote was 267-149.

The House voted 259-140 for the measure last week, but then it needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

The Senate has approved similar legislation.