Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has agreed to co-sponsor legislation requiring the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to test dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) to determine its safety and effectiveness in the treatment or arthritis.
Hatch joined with Sen. Robert Packwood, who offered the bill, S. 2732, "to direct that a clinical investigation of the safety and efficacy of dimethyl sulfoxide as a drug to be used by persons with arthritis be conducted through the National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolism and Digestive Diseases." The bill was referred to the Senate's Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research, of which Hatch is a member.
In testimony before Hatch and the Subcommittee on July 51, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner, Dr. Jere Goyan, estimated that there are "about 100,000 Americans who are now using DMSO." Hatch said most are forced to do so illegally because of the continuing ban on DMSO's use.
In the wake of the hearing, Sen. Hatch said. "This tragic situation in which a potential miracle cure is being kept from the public because of bureaucratic footdragging over its testing for safety and effectiveness, is resulting in DMSO bootlegging across state borders. Americans, in desperation, unsure of DMSO's safety, are going to Mexico for what they believe is the administration of the drug.
"Too often, though, we have found that these patients are being given DMSO substitutes which turn out to be ineffective, if not destructive. This is why I have sponsored legislation with Sen. Packwood to get a clinical study by the National Institute of Arthritis to certify once and for all this substance's properties, beneficial or otherwise.
"If this drug is proven to be safe and effective, I will be one of the first to lead a charge in Congress to open up the law and legalize its use. I would sponsor legislation to compel FDA's compliance," Hatch said.
DMSO has been subject to a nearlytotal ban on its use by FDA for over 15 years, despite its passing every safety test devised for it. The drug leaves a tell-tale odor when administered, making required "double-blind" tests for effectiveness impossible.
"Unsolicited testimonials offered by countless patients and many of their physicians attest to the therapeutic benefits they believe to have derived from the extract," Sen. Hatch said in his opening statement at the hearing. "The continued nearly-total ban on DMSO's use has in itself become the most recent cause for battle in the federal deregulatory war. The handling of DMSO is one of the most important questions to be weighed by this subcommittee, and certainly one of the most timely."