How Accessible are Epipens?

By Heather Legg

I have often wondered what if someone has an anaphylactic allergic reaction and there is not an Epipen available. Perhaps it’s someone in a restaurant who ate something by accident and didn’t have their Epipen with her. Or maybe it happens in an elementary school to a child who has never had a reaction before but comes in contact with something new and goes into anaphylactic shock. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to have a few extra Epipens around?

I know there are a lot of issues connected with this. How do you get the Epipen if you are the restaurant owner or manager? Prescriptions are really only supposed to be used for the one to whom it is prescribed. So not only do you run into accessibility issues, but of course, liability issues. But what if a parent forgot to renew their child’s Epipen and it had expired and that is all the school had for them, and the child was experiencing anaphylaxis? Wouldn’t it be better to have a spare Epipen that could be “the extra” one, then no Epipen at all? I know if one of my children was in a life threatening situation, I wouldn’t care whose Epipen was used if it was going to save her life.

It’s a shame we live in such a litigious society that we can’t do this. We can’t have an Epipen unless it’s for a known allergy, but aren’t there people who experience severe reactions the first time (maybe not so many, but if there is one, it’s worth discussing). You never know how you will react to an insect bite until you are bitten or stung, and what if your first sting becomes life threatening. What if Epipens were sold over the counter? Would people abuse them?

I recently heard of a product called Epi-Ready which is a wall mounted device to hold an Epipen so it is easily accessible and ready to use. No searching, no wondering where it is. I think this is a great idea. It can be used at home, in schools, pre-schools, or wherever else it needs to be. It’s temperature controlled and is somewhat child safe but still easily accessible to adults. I think if I owned a restaurant, I’d want one there. Think of all the places where it could be. You can have it in your kitchen, your child’s classroom, the school cafeteria. The only thing, of course, is it can’t come with the Epipen.

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