Raleigh, N.C. — House lawmakers voted Monday night to allow businesses and groups to have epinephrine injectors on hand for emergency cases of anaphylactic shock.
House Bill 647 would allow doctors and pharmacists to prescribe and dispense the injectors, commonly known as EpiPens, to businesses or groups that want to have them on hand, from restaurants to summer camps to scouting troops.
Unlike legislation last year that required schools to have injectors available, the current proposal is strictly voluntary, not mandatory. It's aimed at businesses that serve children but is not restricted to them.
The business' employees would have to be trained in the proper use of the injectors, and the business would be protected by a "Good Samaritan" liability provision as long as the medication was administered appropriately.
Sponsor Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, explained that the pens are generally prescribed for individuals with dangerous allergies. "But how do you prescribe something for somebody who doesn’t know they’re allergic?"
Co-sponsor Rep. Marilyn Avila, R-Wake, said life-threatening allergic reactions can develop without warning, even in adults. She said she herself had a reaction to a medication that quickly turned dangerous.
"I began to break out in hives," Avila told the House, "then my eyes swelled shut, my mouth swelled and my throat began to close. Because I was shopping with my family in town, I made it to the emergency room just in time to pass out from the inability to breathe. They can happen just that quick and just that deadly."
The bill passed on a 115-1 vote and now goes to the Senate.