Monday, March 29, 2010

State House OKs Epinephrine in PA Schools

The anti-allergy drug epinephrine is banned in many public schools as part of a blanket rule barring children from carrying medication.

But last week, the state House unanimously passed a bill from Representative Matt Smith that would make an exception for epinephrine.

Smith says this drug is special because the food allergies it treats can be so sudden and so severe that kids don’t have time to visit the nurse. He says it wouldn't be too difficult to get clearance for epinephrine.

“The parents have to provide their consent, as well as a physician’s excuse, if you will, providing the basis for why that child has to carry the EpiPen™,” says Smith. “And then, the student has to demonstrate the ability to self-administer the EpiPen™ as well.”

The National Institute of Health says food allergy occurs in six to eight percent of children. The Institute says these allergies cause 150 deaths each year.

Smith hopes his bill will pass the Senate in time for the new school year.

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