Epilepsy support groups in Ireland have repeated their call for the Irish government to change new legislation concerning epilepsy medicines.
The new laws would mean that branded epilepsy medicines (AEDs) could be substituted with a generic version by pharmacists. This poses a risk to patients because any variation in the composition of AEDs can cause changes in the brain. These changes can result in breakthrough seizures.
According to Peter Murphy, deputy CEO of Epilepsy Ireland, the safety of patients should come before cost-cutting plans. He said: “People with epilepsy cannot be put at this kind of risk. This Bill shouldn’t be about cost savings…but about protecting the rights of people with epilepsy to be as safe as possible on medications that have been prescribed for them, often after many years of patient work to find the right drug and dosage to achieve seizure control.”
He added: “People with epilepsy have enough to contend with in managing this life-long and difficult illness. Let’s enshrine their rights.”
A report published in 2010 by the Irish Department of Health specifically recommends that epilepsy medicines are excluded from generic substitution in Ireland. Generic substitution of epilepsy medicines is prohibited in many other European countries including the UK.