One Fire Department EMT Has Already Outsmarted The Cost Of EpiPens

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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One fire department has found an inventive solution to the problem of the soaring costs of EpiPens.

An EpiPen is a lifesaving epinephrine injection device for those suffering from anaphylacic shock–a deadly allergic reaction. The price of the epinephrine inside an EpiPen amounts to just one dollar.

Heather Bresch, the daughter of Sen. Joe Manchin and CEO of Mylan, the company that makes EpiPen’s, has raised the price of EpiPen’s 461 percent since acquiring the drug in 2007. Ms. Bersch, whose company Mylan acquired the mechanism in 2007, has raised of the price of the device from $56.64 to $317.82 in 2015, according to CBS News.

Cary Turner, a thrifty paramedic trainer and EMT coordinator at the Salt Lake City Fire Department, came up with solution to evade the burdensome cost of the EpiPen. Turner, a veteran of the Iraq war, was determined to find a simple solution to curb the cost of acquiring this lifesaving drug without paying for an EpiPen.

Turner devised a prepackaged “kit inside a zippered pouch, that contains a small vial of epinephrine, and a syringe,” reports Salt Lake City’s KUTV. He then lobbied for it’s approval with the Utah Health Department and got his kit approved for EMT agents to carry and administer. The price of Turner’s device is just $3.50 which is in stark contrast to the over $300 EpiPen.

He trained his EMT agents on how to properly dose and administer the epinephrine. Turner told the press, “I went ahead and grabbed an orange, pretending it was a patient’s skin, and we walked through and taught all our EMTs to draw their own medications.”

Thus far, there have been no accidents or safety issues with Turner’s device.

While the FDA has upheld the monopoly on the market for epinephrine injection devices, Turner’s solution could bare some light for families and those with severe allergies that are trying to curb costs (RELATED: The Price Explosion For EpiPen’s Is Linked To One Key Gov’t Decision).

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