Advocacy Across the States

The Epilepsy Foundation’s state advocacy activities support timely access to epilepsy medications, services, and specialists; and focus on proposals related to prior authorization and step therapy requirements, high cost-sharing, medication substitutions without physician and patient consent, onerous drug monitoring requirements, and access to rescue medications in schools. 

 

Current Legislation

Emergency Medication

Access to emergency seizure medicine is vitally important for some children living with epilepsy, and allowing trained non-medical school personnel to administer this medication helps them access the full range of school and related experiences.

Children with epilepsy may experience life-threatening seizures at any moment, and need access to emergency seizure medication when at school. Emergency seizure medications can be safely administered by trained, non-medical personnel, when a school nurse is not available, but in many school districts across the country legislation is required to authorize administration of the medication.

The Epilepsy Foundation supports legislation that improves timely access to lifesaving, emergency seizure medication, to ensure children living with epilepsy have access to the full range of school and related experiences.

Read our full position statement at: 

View the emergency mediciation bills we are currently tracking HERE

 

Medical Cannabis 

There is no "one size fits all" treatment for epilepsy, and about a third of people living with epilepsy suffer from uncontrolled or intractable seizures, despite available treatments. Uncontrolled seizures can lead to disability, injury, and even death.  This is why people living with uncontrolled seizures turn to medical cannabis and CBD when other options have failed. Medical use of cannabis has been legalized in 25 states and the District of Columbia. While not everyone with epilepsy should or would consider medical cannabis as a treatment option, some people living with uncontrolled seizures have reported beneficial effects and reduced seizure activity when using medical cannabis, especially strains rich in CBD. Furthermore, additional research is needed on the connection between cannabis and seizures.

The Epilepsy Foundation is committed to supporting physician directed care, and to exploring and advocating for all potential treatment options for epilepsy, including cannabidiol (CBD) oil and medical cannabis.

Read our full position statement at:

View the medical cannabis bills we are currently tracking HERE

 

Medication Substitution

There is no “one size fits all” treatment option for epilepsy, and the response to AEDs can be different for each person.  Maintaining seizure control with minimal side effects requires careful evaluation and monitoring by the physician and patient. To change, limit, or deny access to medications could be extremely dangerous. For some people living with epilepsy, being forced to take a different drug than the one prescribed by the treating physician can lead to breakthrough seizures and related complications, increased medical costs, and even death.

The Epilepsy Foundation opposes medication substitution, especially when the patient and prescribing physician are not notified, and supports policies that would ensure patients receive the medicines their physicians prescribe. 

View the medication substitution bills we are currently tracking HERE

 

Medication Synchronization

Medication synchronization allows for pharmacists and individuals to work together to make sure all of an individual’s medications are refilled on the same day, requiring only one trip to the pharmacy and making medication adherence easier.

People living with chronic conditions, like epilepsy, often take multiple medications to maintain their health. Having to make several trips to the pharmacy to fill prescriptions is one of many barriers that make it hard for people with chronic conditions to stay on their medications, and missing doses of medication can lead to breakthrough seizures and related complications.

The Epilepsy Foundation supports policies and legislation that make it easier for people with chronic conditions, including epilepsy, to synchronize medication refills and help them to stay on their medications.

View the medication synchronization bills we are currently tracking HERE

 

Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

State Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) are intended to curb prescription drug abuse. Including epilepsy medications in the PDMP can delay access to epilepsy medication treatments that are critical for achieving and maintaining seizure control. Epilepsy medications, especially those in Schedule V (the least restricted schedule) prescribed for seizure control do not pose the risk for abuse associated with other Scheduled medications, and patients living with epilepsy who experience a delay in accessing their medication due to onerous drug monitoring requirements are at a high risk for developing breakthrough seizures and related complications. Restricting access to physician directed care also significantly increases medical costs related to preventable seizures, along with lost wages and productivity, not just for the individuals living with epilepsy but also their families and communities.

The Epilepsy Foundation supports exempting all Schedule V drugs from state Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs in order to exempt many commonly prescribed epilepsy drugs and protect and improve access to medications.

Read our full position statement at:

View the prescription drug monitoring program bills we are currently tracking HERE

 

Step Therapy

Step therapy, or fail first, is a process that requires individuals who have been prescribed certain medications to try and fail one or more medications preferred by the insurer before receiving the originally prescribed drug.

There is no “one size fits all” treatment option for epilepsy, and the response to AEDs can be different for each person.  Maintaining seizure control with minimal side effects requires careful evaluation and monitoring by the physician and patient. To change, limit, or deny access to medications could be extremely dangerous. People living with epilepsy who have their medications switched, or who experience a delay in accessing their medication due to onerous step therapy requirements, are at a high risk for developing breakthrough seizures and related complications. Step therapy also significantly increases medical costs related to preventable seizures, along with lost wages and productivity, not just for the individuals living with epilepsy but also their families and communities.

The Epilepsy Foundation opposes step therapy and similar policies intended to restrict access to physician-directed care that unnecessarily prolong ineffective treatment, and prevent individuals from immediately starting the treatment their practitioners think is best.

View our full position statement at: 

View the step therapy bills we are currently tracking HERE

Reviewed on June 2016

State Laws and Regulations

Click on the links below for information regarding state laws and regulations that are important to the epilepsy community.