Four members of the US senate have introduced legislation to improve access to clinical trials for patients with rare diseases.

The “Improving Access to Clinical Trials Act” will allow patients with rare diseases to participate in clinical drug studies without losing their eligibility for public healthcare.

At present patients are prevented from accepting research compensation from clinical trials as it would make them ineligible to receive government medical benefits.

The move would also benefit researchers who often struggle to recruit patients with rare diseases such as cystic fibrosis due to limited patient populations and patient unwillingness to risk losing government support.

US Senator Ron Wyden said that for many suffering from rare diseases, access to clinical trials is their best hope for treatment.

“This legislation will make sure the small financial incentives these people receive will not be counted against them,” Wyden said.

The Improving Access to Clinical Trials Act is co-sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chris Dodd (D-CT), James Inhofe (R-OK) and Richard Shelby (R-AL).