President Donald Trump has signed a bill giving terminally ill patients the right to try experimental treatments not approved by the government.

Patients were able to apply to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for access to non-approved drugs before, and most were granted permission.

The new bill does not mandate that drug makers give access to unapproved drugs to patients asking for them.

Advocacy groups including the American Cancer Society had opposed the bill.

The new Right to Try act allows patients with life-threatening diseases to bypass the FDA’s application process for “compassionate use” of experimental drugs.

Patients seeking access to “investigational drugs” now need only the approval of their physician and the drug manufacturer.

The new bill protects doctors and companies from the legal risks of allowing unapproved treatments unless they intentionally harm a patient.

The policy that patients must have exhausted all other approved treatments and clinical trial options remains.