On November 25, 2015 President Obama signed the Improving Regulatory Transparency for New Medical Therapies Act (H.R. 639), which will improve the transparency and consistency of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) review of new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medications and bring these medications to patients faster.
This victory was possible in great part because of the advocacy of epilepsy community leaders like Nathan Fountain, MD, chair of the Epilepsy Foundation's Professional Advisory Board and Director of the F.E. Dreifuss Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Dr. Fountain advocated with Congress on several occasions in support of speeding up the scheduling process by requiring that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) schedule a new therapy within a set timeframe after approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dr. Fountain has been a member of the Epilepsy Foundation’s Professional Advisory Board (PAB) for eight years (two terms), and just finished a two year term as Chair or the PAB.
On January 27, 2015, Dr. Fountain testified before the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health in support of H.R. 639. He explained in detail why access to new therapies is particularly important for the one third of people living with epilepsy who experience intractable or uncontrolled seizures, and the many more who experience significant adverse effects from their current medication. His testimony made clear that bringing transparency to the scheduling process was an urgent matter, and fueled the bipartisan support that ultimately led to the bill’s passage and signature.
- Watch Dr. Fountain's testimony here.
- Read our call to end DEA delays here.