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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Schools may get help with EpiPen cost hike

epipen.jpg
Kira Stewart-Watkins
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flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
The legislation is intended to address the fact that the cost of brand-name epinephrine has increased.

Lawmakers are working to help schools with the recent hike in the cost of EpiPens.

In 2013, a new law required schools to have two auto-injectors of epinephrine on site at all times. Epinephrine is the drug used to treat a variety of allergic reactions.

The newly introduced bill would allow schools to get a prescription for epinephrine and give out the drug with a syringe by a trained staff member.

Representative Martin Howrylak, R-Troy, is a sponsor of the bill . He says the current law requiring schools to have auto-injectors on site is too limiting in how students can get the drug from their schools.

“So if the intent is to ensure that students and staff and visitors to the school have an epinephrine at the availability in case there is an incident, then we need to have broader language,” he said.

Howrylak also argued that the current legislation serves EpiPen better than other auto injectors, like the cheaper Adrenaclick, in part because EpiPen is so well known.

“If the intent is to make sure that kids are safe, parents are safe, teachers are safe – anybody in the school is safe and there’s adrenaline on hand, then let’s make sure that we’re not so boxed in that it benefits only one business,” he said.

While Howrylak said the law requiring auto injectors for allergic reactions is a good thing, he also said, “We can’t have legislation that is under the auspices of doing something good, really doing the bidding of a private interest.”

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