Over the course of several months, the drug Epidiolex has received a spur of multimedia attention. Back in June, the United Kingdom experienced a controversy involving the drug, which ultimately led to their recent reform of medical-grade cannabis laws in the country. Likewise, in September, a young girl (also suffering from a rare form of epilepsy) was granted permission by a California judge to take her cannabis seizure medication to school. Now, after a long wait and several international spurs, the drug Epidiolex has cleared all regulatory requirements and is available for prescription use via the United States drug market. However, keep in mind that actual marijuana is still classified as a Schedule-I substance by federal law. So what can we expect from this recent event? Let’s take a closer look at the future of the seizure medication Epidiolex.
Developed by GK Pharmaceuticals, Epidiolex is a seizure medication that is synthesized from cannabinoids, naturally occurring substances in the marijuana plant. Typically, the drug is prescribed to young patients (specifically 2 years and up) and has been created to treat Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (two rare forms of epilepsy).
Interestingly, though, resources have indicated the drug will be available to patients across the U.S., even for individuals who don’t live in states that have legalized medical marijuana. However, now that it has officially been approved, Epidiolex will fall under the same regulations as other prescription meds and will be available to people who have prescriptions. Based on a report from GW Pharmaceuticals, a majority of insurance plans will cover this drug.
Under the new regulations, Epidiolex is listed as a Schedule-V drug, while (as stated earlier) its parent plant marijuana will still fall under a Schedule-I category.
Regardless of this new accomplishment, many people in the cannabis community are not entirely thrilled. One major question concerns why Epidiolex is completely legal, while marijuana is still listed as an illegal substance (regardless of recent movements in over thirty states). Likewise, CNN reports that Epidiolex will cost $32,500 annually, which GK Pharmaceuticals claims to be on par with other seizure meds on the market. In the end, patients might face roadblocks when it comes to the high price of this drug.
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