Access to epinephrine expanding with new Texas law

EpiPen (KXAN Photo)
EpiPen (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new Texas law going into effect Friday could help save lives for people with allergies.

With HB 1550, a pharmacist may administer epinephrine to a patient on their premises.

“Right now in the store, someone could have a reaction,” said Bill Swail, pharmacist and owner of Peoples RX Pharmacy. “And where would they go? The nearest place that has relief.”

Swail says the new law can help pharmacists save lives in these emergency situations, without fearing repercussions.

Those serious allergic reactions can come from food or other instances like bee stings. And once it happens, getting treatment fast is crucial. “If something needs to be done, we need to do it and save somebody’s life. I can sleep better,” said Swail.

Parents like Kati Ohlmeyer also look forward to the positive impacts the law could have.

“Most parents of kids with food allergies would describe that first experience as just a total sense of not knowing what to do,” said Ohlmeyer.

Her son Ian is allergic to peanuts and eggs, they don’t go anywhere without an EpiPen. They’ve had to administer it to him twice. “My tummy hurt and I started to feel sick and couldn’t breathe as well,” said Ian. “Once I got the EpiPen shot I felt better and really energetic.”

“One of the great things about this bill being passed is it just increases access to epinephrine,” said Kati.

Another bill that went into effect earlier in the year encourages EpiPens to be available at all public schools, campuses, and at off-campus school events.

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