Legislation aimed at saving lives for those suffering life-threatening allergic reactions, as well as helping local fire and rescue departments keep spending in line, was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner Aug. 19. The law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2017.
State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) sponsored Senate Bill 3335 and credits the Broadlands/Longview Fire Protection District in Champaign County for bringing this issue to him.
“Our budget for two rural fire departments is very limited,” said Jim Jones, a trustee with the Broadlands/Longview Fire Protection District. “Right now, we are forced to buy four adult Epi-Pens and four junior Epi-Pens every year, which cost us a total of $2,400 a year. This would allow us to purchase vials instead, for less than $50. That’s a huge cost savings. This will help immensely, both with our budget and our ability to administer the drug more often, if needed.”
“You just never know when a life-threatening allergic reaction may occur,” Rose said. “It could be you, your friend, or a stranger. Epinephrine is a critical, first-line defense for making sure an allergic reaction doesn’t turn deadly. This legislation expands the tools our emergency responders can use when they need to administer epinephrine, while making it less costly to administer the drug.”
Senate Bill 3335 will allow Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) to dispense epinephrine using a syringe, drawn from a glass vial or ampule. Under current law, it can only be dispensed using the far more expensive epinephrine auto-injectors.
“This common-sense proposal is just another tool our emergency responders can utilize to save lives,” Rose said. “It will also save our rural communities a lot of money as vials are less expensive than epinephrine auto-injectors. Additionally, epinephrine auto-injectors have a shorter shelf life, so many times, they have to be disposed of without ever even being used.”