In the early 1990s, a young brain researcher named Ivan Soltesz heard a story that would shape his career. His adviser told him about a school for children whose epileptic seizures were so severe and frequent that they had to wear helmets to prevent head injuries. The only exception to the helmet rule was for students who received an award.
“The big deal for them is that they can take the helmet off while they’re walking across the stage,” Soltesz says. “And that thing struck me as just wrong.”
Today, Soltesz runs a lab at the University of California, Irvine, and he’s taken some big steps toward helping people with uncontrolled seizures. Epilepsy drugs aren’t enough, he says. For about a third of patients with epilepsy, they just don’t work. And for many others, they have major drawbacks.
It’s more the docters and pharmacists that are a problem. With epilepsy drugs you get generic and you get the patent of that drug and despite guidelines set stating that speacialist should not change the medication once the patent runs out , they still do. Pharmacists will say it’s still they same drug but it is not . It’s has a different generic make up and NICE (the National Intitute of Clinical Excilance) recognises that this change can make a difference. This is why it stipulates with certain conditions such as epilepsy and diabetes the patents are not to be changed. Unfortunely a lot of pharmaceuticals and doctors take the attitude that they have to weigh up the cost to society above the patient.