Assemblymember Jim Wood Sends Epidiolex Bill to Governor
Governor’s signature will allow patients to receive newly approved drug for epilepsy
SACRAMENTO–On Monday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued approval of a new drug, Epidiolex, to treat seizures associated with two severe childhood-onset epilepsies, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome. Epidiolex is the first prescription, plant-derived cannabinoid (CBD) in the category of anti-epileptic drugs and has been approved to treat children two years of age or older.
“That’s great news but here’s the problem we discovered,” said Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa). “Currently, any product that contains material, compound, mixture or preparation that contains any quantity of cannabis is considered a Schedule I Controlled Substance under California statute, and because of that, cannot be prescribed by a physician unless specifically exempted. Children suffering from these rare forms of epilepsy would not be able to access the medication, but my bill, AB 710, will fix that.”
The bill would regard any newly approved prescription medication that contains CBD, and is controlled or decontrolled under a federal rule or interim rule, like any other pharmaceutical medication. Under AB 710, California will simply adopt the scheduling of the federal government which would allow prescriptions to be written.
“Approximately 1 in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment option and about one million people live with uncontrolled or intractable seizures,” said Wood. “Most patients with these severe forms of epilepsy need multiple medications and a majority of them are resistant to currently available medications,” said Wood, “so I am pleased that these patients will now have access to a medication that can help and improve their quality of life.”
Epidiolex must be rescheduled from its Schedule I category before it can become available to patients. That is expected to happen within a 90-day period.
Assemblymember Jim Wood (D- Santa Rosa) represents the 2nd Assembly District, which includes all of Del Norte, Trinity, Humboldt and Mendocino counties, plus northern and coastal Sonoma County, including the northern half of Santa Rosa.