The right to try experimental drugs gets more transparent

A recent development in how patient requests for experimental drugs are handled could be a big step in health care, said Amrit Ray, chief medical officer for Johnson & Johnson's pharmaceuticals division, Janssen.

On Thursday Johnson & Johnson announced a partnership that enlists the help of an independent third party to review these compassionate use cases. A committee of 10 at the NYU School of Medicine will review patient requests for experimental drugs. This partnership is the first of its kind.

Read MoreJohnson & Johnson to consult ethicists on requests for experimental drugs

"This comes at a great time because we see a lot of innovation in science and this offers great potential for patients with breakthrough medications," Ray told CNBC's "Power Lunch" on Thursday.

An employee processes solutions containing samples taken from hazard suits and clothing to detect evidence of contamination in a laboratory at the Bavarian Nordic A/S biotechnology company.
Freya Ingrid Morales | Bloomberg | Getty Images
An employee processes solutions containing samples taken from hazard suits and clothing to detect evidence of contamination in a laboratory at the Bavarian Nordic A/S biotechnology company.

Art Caplan, director of the division of medical ethics at NYU, will serve as the committee's chairman. He said the committee will not know who is making the request and will rule based on ethical, expert medical and patient advocacy perspectives.

"Not everyone can get something that is very important to them, but at least we'll do thoughtfully, transparently, with good will and hopefully in a way that others want to emulate," he said in the same interview.

Requests to the committee can come in from anywhere in the world.