EpiPens Now Legal in Ohio Public Establishments!

EpiPens now legal for Ohio public facilities!

Restaurants, swimming pools and other public places now will be able to carry doses of a life-saving allergy drug thanks to a recent change in Ohio law.

Doses of the hormone epinephrine, which can save to those having a severe allergic reaction, should become available in some public facilities across the state.

House Bill 200, sponsored by State Rep. Christina Hagan, permits public establishments, such as restaurants, swimming pools, schools and amusement parks, to carry a non-patient specific prescription to keep epinephrine, which can be administered via an injector known as an EpiPen. The legislation takes effect Sept. 8.

“Our legislation expands points of access for distribution,” said Hagan, a Republican who represents the 50th Ohio House District. “So basically, additional facilities will be able to stock an EpiPen for allergic reactions. This is a life-saving measure. An EpiPen that can be used all.”

Epinephrine is used to treat people undergoing an anaphylactic shock, or allergic reaction.

“Epinephrine is traditionally a prescription drug,” said Cameron McNamee, director of policy and communications for the Ohio Board of Pharmacy. “The law is changed to essentially say, ‘Your college, your swimming pool or whatever can have epinephrine. They can almost keep it as a first-aid kit. It is really up to the establishment. There are some training requirements.”

Hagan, a Marlboro Township resident, is in her fifth year in the Ohio House. She attributes her interest in sponsoring the change to her experiences in the restaurant industry.

“Having worked in restaurants a lot of my life, I have waited on people that have severe allergies and have particular specifications about their food or how their food can be prepared to avoid allergic reactions,” Hagan said. “If it is a significant enough event, an ambulance may not get there on time. Their airways can be too constrained. It doesn’t have to be a food allergen. It can be any kind of allergen. The problem is we don’t know when someone is going to have a reaction. It could happen to anyone at anytime. Emergencies happen. I guess the problem is how prepared are we to allow entities to deal with them.”

McNamee, of the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, recalls certain public entities expressing an interest in stocking epinephrine.

“The schools and camps were having issues,” McNamee said. “Kids in general weren’t necessarily the most reliable with keeping their medication on them. The schools and the camps asked for permission to have it on-site in case of an emergency.”

Hagan’s efforts with House Bill 200 attracted notice from an Alliance restaurateur who heard the legislation discussed while hosting a meeting of local Republicans.

“I would like to be one of the first restaurants in to implement this when the bill passes,” said Frank Minear, operator of Frank’s Family Restaurant. “There are a lot of allergic reactions out there. People can be allergic to nuts or shell fish. To be able to help save a life before the paramedics get here, I would like to be a part of that.”

Article courtesy of The Repository

Posted July 31, 2016