EMTs Save Lives And Money By Carrying $20 Alternative To EpiPen

While the soaring cost of the EpiPen has been making headlines for the last few weeks, dealing with that cost has been a problem for emergency medical services, which have to be ready to save the lives of patients having severe allergic reactions. Keeping every ambulance equipped with the kits is an expensive proposition, though, and one local government found a solution three years ago that it shares with colleagues across the country.

The EpiPen combines a century-old drug that can be life-saving for someone having a severe allergic reaction and a half-century-old auto-injector system. For reasons that multiple governments are now looking into, the price of these injection kits has soared in the last few years, causing financial strain for patients and for ambulance services alike.

That’s why the paramedics in King County, where Seattle is located, created the Epi-Kit: a low-cost substitute meant to fill in for an auto-injector in the hands of someone who is trained and has the experience to stay calm. Using the kits instead of buying Mylan’s EpiPen has saved the county $250,000 each year since they began.

What’s in the kit? A few bandages and alcohol wipes, two syringes, and a bottle of injectable epinephrine. That’s why EMTs can carry these kits while they aren’t appropriate for people who don’t have medical training. Instead of simply jamming the auto-injector in a thigh, the bearer has to draw a dose of adrenaline from the syringe first.

The idea is catching on among emergency medical personnel, though, and the service sells the small kits at cost to other emergency medical services across the country.

King County paramedics develop EpiPen alternative – for a fraction of the cost [KOMO]

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