How much is your life worth?
Your child’s life?
Last month, Mylan, an American pharmaceutical company, raised the cost of an epipen to 600 dollars and we all breathed a sigh of relief for having the NHS.
This week though, we are facing our own epigate.
The BSACI (British Society For Allergy And Clinical Immunology) have released new guidance that states most people only need to carry one epipen, or adrenaline injector.
Most adrenaline injectors don’t get used as people with severe allergies are well trained in avoiding their triggers at all costs. But, adrenaline injectors are the only treatment for anaphylaxis and research shows, and is reiterated in the BSACI guidance:
“Delayed administration of adrenaline is a feature in fatal and near-fatal anaphylaxis.”
In the majority of cases, one adrenaline injector is enough. The adrenaline usually takes effect fast and halts or severely slows down the symptoms of anaphylaxis. But, there are many reasons why a second may be needed – the first doesn’t work, it is misfired or the reaction progresses. Crucially, the guidance states:
“There is insufficient quality evidence-based data in some areas, including the question of how often a second dose is required.”
To me, if there is insufficient evidence, then you go with the most cautionary approach. Especially when, only recently, it emerged that the ambulance service has downgraded anaphylaxis so help may take longer to arrive.
There are a few exceptions in the guidance, when two pens may be required, including remoteness from medical help. We live down a farm track, 20 minutes from the closest hospital. I have no idea if that is classified as remote. But, even if not, sometimes it’s just not possible to be close to medical help.
People with allergies are renowned researchers. They will find the closest hospital , have an emergency plan and have weighed up any risks, wherever they visit.
But what if we wanted to travel? To fly?
Planes already pose increased risks for many allergy sufferers and travelling with only one auto injector simply wouldn’t be sensible or safe when help could take far too long to arrive.
In my opinion, this guidance is full of inconsistencies, lacks practical application and I cannot see any clear evidence-based argument for limiting allergy sufferers to one auto-injector.
I can; however, see a clear cost saving one.
So how much is your life worth? Your child’s life?
According to BSACI, about £26.