What if we could save MD parents millions of dollars, at no cost to taxpayers, paid for by noted pirate Mylan Pharmaceuticals? We can, with a little reform & common sense.
State law is one reason back to school season is expensive for parents of kids with allergy— parents are currently required to provide an epi-pen auto-injector to the school nurse. If you have two kids with allergies, you need to buy two epi-pens, at a cost of around $600. Because a badly designed state law requires that each kid’s name is on their device. This makes no sense.
Since the epi-pen expires after a year, state law will force parents to waste thousands of dollars over a 12 year BCPS, money parents could save for college.
The Maryland legislature can help a lot of parents, without burdening taxpayers. This isn’t some magical Ben Jealous style thinking. It is a common sense solution. Here’s how:
- Purchase Epinephrone as the first line of defense
The cost of epinephrone, the drug in an epi-pen, costs $5 a dose. The auto-injector hardware that enables an untrained person to safely administer the drug costs $300. Why does the state mandate the most expensive option that has to be purchased from a monopoly provider.
- Empower school nurses
School nurses in Maryland are highly skilled professionals. They have the ability to administer epinephrone without the “auto-injector”. But they are currently prohibited by state law from doing their job in the most sensible manner possible. If you go to a Doctor’s office, someone less qualified than a BCPS nurse would give you an epinephrone injection, not an epi-pen.
- Save taxpayers money by using costly epi-pens as second line of defense
Schools in MD already purchase epi-pens to accommodate kids whose allergies are unknown or whose parents cannot provide the medication. This is a good thing, but epi-pens should be used as a back-up when the school nurse is unavailable. Right now, the state is buying these expensive auto-injectors as the first line of defense, wasting MD taxpayers and padding Mylan Pharmaceuticals bottom line.
The state will save money from not using the expensive device when it’s not needed.
- Give parents choice
If parents are concerned about a nurse administering ephedrine, they are free to continue buying brand name epi-pens and providing it to the school, just as they do now.
There are serious problems with pharmaceutical industry in the US. Pricing scams that take old drugs and increase the cost by 1000%. FDA regulations that limit generic competition. Primarily due to the negative publicity surrounding epi-pen price increases, the FDA finally approved a generic competitor. Although this may ultimately reduce price, but parents will still be wasting money every year.
There’s no reason MD parents and taxpayers should be enriching some pharma pirate’s bottom line when common-sense alternatives are available. We should change the law.
Vote reform and common sense. There’s no excuse why state government can’t work for its people.