A bill that would give dying patients the right to use experimental drugs is winning support in the Maine Legislature.

The Senate on Wednesday gave initial approval to the so-called "right to try" bill. The vote was 20-11. The House on Tuesday approved the bill.

The legislation would allow patients to use drugs that have passed the first phase of the Federal Drug Administration approval process but remain in clinical trials.

Sen. Geoffrey Gratwick, a Bangor Democrat who works as a physician, said experimental drugs can be toxic and that the current FDA drug approval process benefits patients and society.

Sen. Eric Brakey, an Auburn Republican, said the bill is needed because dying people don't have time for drugs to win approval.

Twenty-four states have similar laws on the books. (AP)