Why EpiPens Need to be Affordable and Available to the Patients that Need Them

The Food and Drug Administration has declared an EpiPen shortage across parts of the country.
The EpiPen, delivers a shot of epinephrine to someone having an allergic reaction.

Our Malique Rankin introduces us to a 13 year-old who just recently, had to use his EpiPen for the first time.

Maryse Mathieu; Mother: “Animals, grass, pollen, molds, he was allergic to everything else. So then we started the allergy desensitization. Then I had to keep carrying the EpiPens.”

These are just a few of the allergies Louis Belanger has. His mom has been carrying an EpiPen for nearly 12 years, just in case.

Louis Belanger; 13 year-old: “Oh my gosh, if my mom hadn’t been carrying those EpiPens around for so long, I don’t know what I would have done.”

Louis is referring to this past Monday.
When he had to use his EpiPen for the first time.

Louis Belanger; 13 year-old: “My throat started swelling up and I couldn’t breath.”

After his allergy shots, it wasn’t long after that symptoms of anaphylaxis arose.

Louis Belanger; 13 year-old: “That feeling was so horrible, that I couldn’t wish that upon another person.”
Maryse Mathieu; Mother: “Feel ok bud? He’s like ‘it’s kind of hard to breath’ and I’m like oh my gosh, he’s having an anaphylaxis reaction.”

It’s stories like Louis’ that highlight why this life-saving drug needs to be available and affordable.

Jonathon Rodriguez; Allergist at Sanford: “Unfortunately, we periodically run into some shortages of having auto-injectors of epinephrine. Because of a manufacturing delay or because of delay in getting manufacturing components, the companies are not able to deliver epinephrine in the quantities we require.”

The FDA said several factors were responsible for the injectors’ “limited availability,” including manufacturing issues and “pharmacy-level supply disruptions.” 

Louis’ mother says having an EpiPen for her son avoided what could have been fatal situation.

Maryse Mathieu; Mother: “I mean, that might just save your life.”

Auvi-Q is one alternative. It’s an epinephrine auto-injector, that according to the FDA, is not in shortage.

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