Recent Legislation Improves Access to Epinephrine

Recent Legislation Improves Access to Epinephrine

For children with food allergies, packing their epinephrine carrying case is as important as remembering to pack their lunch. Epinephrine is a constant companion to school, on field trips, to sports practice and on virtually any outing. It’s also a constant reminder of what can happen in the blink of an eye: anaphylaxis.

Food allergy families are well aware of the risk of anaphylaxis and the importance of keeping epinephrine within reach at all times. But things can still go wrong: cases can be lost or misplaced, for example. And what about families who aren’t aware of food allergy dangers? Every parent hopes to discover any existing food allergies in a safe way (through allergy testing or perhaps the mildest possible reaction), but unfortunately a sudden anaphylactic episode is sometimes one’s traumatic introduction to the world of food allergies.

Without epinephrine readily available, the risk of death increases. Not even all ambulances carry epinephrine, nor are all first responders allowed to administer it.

And when we consider the recent cost increase for the popular brand of epinephrine auto-injectors, EpiPen, it becomes apparent that access to epinephrine is a real problem.

Fortunately, recent legislation hopes to improve epinephrine access and save lives.

Prescribing Epinephrine to an Entity

Imagine this: a fire starts in restaurant. Staff have trained for this and know exactly what to do, reaching for the fire extinguisher to smother the flames. A true crisis has been averted.

Now imagine that another crisis develops in the restaurant: someone is having an anaphylactic reaction to an allergen in one of the dishes. Staff have trained for this and know exactly what to do, reaching for their own Anaphylactic Emergency Kit and administering the life-saving dose of epinephrine.

This scenario could be a reality in as many as 26 states that have adopted legislation making it legal for entities, like restaurants, to carry and administer epinephrine. Throughout the rest of the U.S., the victim would have to supply his or her own epinephrine, or wait for first responders to arrive with the dose.

Doesn’t it make sense to have epinephrine available in much the same way as a fire extinguisher or defibrillator? It is particularly sensible for places that provide food, such as restaurants, hotels, airports, convention centers, etc. to stock epinephrine.

Epinephrine Still Regulated Under “Stock Epinephrine Entity” Laws

The laws do require some adherence to standards and safety, which vary from state to state but typically demand regular staff training in proper epinephrine administration. The laws also have a “good Samaritan” clause that shield staff from legal action that may arise from their administration of epinephrine “in good faith.”  The laws also dictate how the epinephrine should be stored, how often it should be replaced, etc.

To see whether your state has a current or pending Stock Epinephrine Entity law, click here.

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