On December 22, 2017, Governor Wolf signed SB 728 into law to remove lifesaving Schedule V epilepsy medications from Pennsylvania's prescription drug monitoring program and reduce the administrative burdens that restrict access to care. The bill has been sent to the Governor on December 13, 2017, after passing both the House and Senate.
In Pennsylvania, the Achieving Better Care by Monitoring All Prescriptions (ABC-MAP) Act allows the state to monitor prescription drugs in Schedules II - V. The inclusion of epilepsy medications had also created access barriers for non-narcotic, non-opioid epilepsy medications in Schedule V. To address this issue, State Senator Gene Yaw and State Representative Gene DiGirolamo introduced legislation in 2017 that would amend the ABC-MAP Act to remove non-narcotic, non-opioid Schedule V epilepsy medications from the program's query requirement.
The Epilepsy Foundation and the Epilepsy Foundation affiliates in Pennsylvania strongly supported exempting Schedule V epilepsy medications from ABC-MAP (PDMP) requirements. Prescription drug monitoring programs like ABC-MAP are designed to help reduce prescription drug abuse, particularly of opioid drugs.
On August 24, 2017, Senator Yaw published an op-ed on PDMP access issues titled "Epilepsy Medications Shouldn't Fall Under the Same Scrutiny as Opioids" in PennLive, a news outlet in Central Pennsylvania with an average viewership of 4 million unique visitors each month. On August 28, 2017, the op-ed was republished in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania's largest newspaper.
Senator Yaw's editorial follows an April 28, 2017 op-ed on the same issue published in The Intelligencer, a daily newspaper in Eastern Pennsylvania, by Peggy Beem (President and CEO, Epilepsy Foundation of Western/Central Pennsylvania) and Dr. Brad Klein (a Pennsylvania neurologist and member of the Alliance for Patient Access' Neurological Disease Working Group).
Senator Yaw had also written a memorandum to all members of the Pennsylvania Senate regarding his support for exempting epilepsy medications from the state's prescription drug monitoring program. Read Senator Yaw's Memorandum
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