The Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act of 2017, H.R. 304, passed the U.S. House of Representative by a vote of 404-0 in early January 2017. On October 24, 2017, the bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent. On November 17, 2017, the bill was signed into law by President Trump.
The Epilepsy Foundation has supported this bill since it was first introduced in the 114th Congress. The bill amends the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and ensures that Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel can continue to administer controlled substances, including emergency seizure medications, under standing orders to ensure people receive the appropriate treatment in a timely manner. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) had raised concerns regarding EMS personnel administering controlled substances.
This bill directly benefits many people in the epilepsy community. There is a demonstrated clinical need for administering controlled substance medications, such as those to treat active seizures, during an emergency. Delaying immediate treatment by first responders with a readily available emergency medication can be life-threatening. Prolonged, cluster, or status seizures may cause serious injury and even death.