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Baker Bill Expands Use of Epi-Pens

Legislation passed in effort to save lives

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Dec. 16, 2015

HARRISBURG – In order to ensure greater safety for those individuals who may have a severe allergic reaction, state Rep. Matt Baker (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) has authored legislation passed by the House to permit a variety of establishments to have non-patient specific epinephrine auto-injectors available for emergency use.

“Food and other allergies can strike a person quickly and can often develop into a severe reaction, such as anaphylaxis shock, which is why the availability of epi-pens is so important,” said Baker, chairman of the House Health Committee. “Many children may not even be aware they have an allergy to a particular food they never tried before, or may be stung by a bee for the first time and experience a severe reaction while away from home. Also common is that an adult may have forgotten his or her epi-pen at home not realizing that a particular ingredient they are allergic to would be used in a dish they ordered at a restaurant. These are the situations in which having an epi-pen on the premises would be valuable.”

Entities that would be authorized to obtain epi-pens under the legislation include recreation camps, colleges, restaurants, sports arenas, amusement parks and day care centers. These establishments would not be required to have a supply of epi-pens, but they would be permitted to have them if they wanted. Those that do acquire epi-pens would be required to have the individual(s) in charge of storage, maintenance and general oversight and use of epi-pens complete a training program offered by the Department of Health.

Also included in House Bill 1351 is a Good Samaritan clause to protect entities, health care practitioners and employees from liability if they are acting in good faith when administering the medication.

Baker noted that similar legislation to allow schools to have epi-pens was enacted into law last session, and today, more than 2,645 Pennsylvania schools are participating in the program to receive epi-pens.

“Having epi-pens available is no different than schools and other facilities having AEDs in the case of a cardiac emergency,” said Baker. “Allergic reactions can happen very suddenly and epi-pens that are administered quickly can save lives. It just makes sense to make them available in places where food allergies in particular can typically take place.”

To date, 17 states have enacted similar legislation in law, and more than 20 states are considering such legislation.

House Bill 1351 has the support of Food Allergy Research and Education, Kids with Allergies, Pennsylvania Medical Society and Pennsylvania Department of Health.

The legislation now goes to the state Senate for consideration.

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