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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 17, 2017 10:38 AM
From: Representative Gene DiGirolamo
To: All House members
Subject: Epilepsy Drug Exemption from ABC-MAP

In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to amend the Achieving Better Care by Monitoring All Prescriptions Program (ABC-MAP) Act. As a long-time advocate for drug and alcohol abuse prevention, education and treatment, I remain committed to addressing the heroin and opioid overdose crisis in Pennsylvania.

While we must do everything we can to curb doctor shopping and reduce illicit prescription drug use, I want to ensure that we are not unintentionally hindering access to medicines without evidence of abuse for patients who rely on them on a daily basis. The Epilepsy Foundation Western/Central Pennsylvania has told me that there are three non-narcotic/non-opioid, Schedule V epilepsy drugs that are included in PDMP requirements, and they are concerned about access to these medications for the 209,000 people with epilepsy in Pennsylvania. Any additional step or requirement in the prescription process can jeopardize epilepsy patients’ getting the most effective treatment or lead to access delays.

I have done my research and understand that these three Schedule V drugs are specifically indicated to treat epilepsy and seizure disorder, do not have evidence of abuse, and do not contain opioids or narcotics. Therefore, I will seek to remove them from query requirements in my legislation.

No other state in the country mandates a PDMP query requirement for these epilepsy drugs. Connecticut instituted this requirement in 2015, but became aware of the unintended consequence of the law, and worked with the epilepsy community to correct. Consequently, the state removed “non-narcotic Schedule V” drugs from certain requirements last year.

We must be thorough, but also prudent, in fighting the opioids scourge. I urge you to join me in cosponsoring this important legislation to remove unnecessary barriers around medications that are critical to many epilepsy patients’ well-being.

Introduced as HB395