Allow people to share prescription epinephrine in emergencies
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Epinephrine (e.g., an “EpiPen”) is critically important to people with severe allergies. Such devices are only available by prescription and federal law only allows prescription medicines to be used on individuals for whom that medicine is prescribed; it is unlawful to share prescription medicines. While this is reasonable in most cases, it can have deadly consequences in the case of epinephrine.
Someone experiencing anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that can occur quickly when someone is exposed to an allergen, requires immediate administration of epinephrine. If a person does not have his or her prescribed epinephrine (e.g., EpiPen) either because they have never been diagnosed with an allergy, forgot to carry it, or some other reason, their situation is dire. Such a thought causes heartfelt anxiety in people with severe allergies and their families.
My seven year old daughter Catherine is severely peanut allergic and, since her diagnosis at the age of one year, I have carried around a deep fear that I might not be able to help her if she ever needs me. As vigilant as I am about carrying her medicine, I sometimes forget it. I’m very aware that epinephrine is commonplace – literally hiding in people’s pockets and purses. I can only speak for myself when I say I would not hesitate to save another child’s life using my daughter’s epinephrine prescription. I would also break the law by doing that.
Today I am asking you to stand with me in petitioning congress to craft legislation to allow prescription epinephrine to be shared in emergency situations and to include language that would exempt a person who shares epinephrine from legal liability.
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