As Kids' Allergies Soar, So Do Sales of EpiPens

Doctors prescribed nearly 2 million EpiPens in the US last year

By Rebecca Smith Hurd,  Newser User

Posted Nov 22, 2008 1:55 PM CST

(Newser) – Foods once thought of as wholesome—eggs, milk, wheat, peanut butter—now threaten the lives of some 3 million children with food allergies every year, MSNBC reports. As a result, US sales of EpiPens and their accessories are skyrocketing. These single-use shots of epinephrine can be self-administered and stop severe allergic reactions in an instant. Many kids now carry their own, and adults are stocking up.

Ten years ago, an elementary school nurse may have had “one or two EpiPens on hand,” says one doc. “Now she has 50 to 60.” Doctors prescribed 1.9 million EpiPens last year, up more than a third from 2003, and aftermarket vendors have responded with kid-friendly carrying cases. The down side: Pocket-sized devices can run up to $60 to $100 each, even after insurance. Robot- or strawberry-themed carrying cases not included.

Paramedic Benjamin Pratt shows and describes epinephrine and atropine.
Paramedic Benjamin Pratt shows and describes epinephrine and atropine.   (AP Photo/Marilyn Newton, Pool)
EpiPens are becoming a common accessory for kids with allergies.
EpiPens are becoming a common accessory for kids with allergies.   (www.allergyinjections.co.uk)
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You just don’t want to take chances. Consider the EpiPen is your life insurance.” - Anne Munoz-Furlong, founder, the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network

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