N.J. Assembly committee advances EpiPen bill

Now that New Jersey has an established program allowing certain people to carry and use the opiate antidote naloxone to help save a life, a similar measure is moving in Trenton for epinephrine, the medication that treats severe allergic reactions.

A bill cleared by an Assembly panel on Monday would grant civil immunity to those authorized to use epinephrine on someone suffering from an allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis, or any other serious condition it helps relieve. Individuals who administer the drug would have had to complete a state-approved program.

The bill would also allow health care professionals to prescribe or dispense epinephrine auto-injectors, more commonly known as EpiPens, and give them immunity from civil and professional liability.

A similar measure, the Overdose Prevention Act, was signed into law by Governor Christie in 2013 and allows certain first responders and relatives to carry and use naloxone on victims of a heroin or opiate overdose. The act also protects those who use the antidote from negative legal action.

“It is wise that we allow people who (have) been trained on how to use epinephrine to carry it and administer without fear of legal repercussions,” said one of the bill sponsors, Assemblyman Troy Singleton, D-Burlington, in a statement. 

The bill’s approval by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee comes a month after the governor signed into law a bill requiring schools to maintain a supply of epinephrine. A similar bill to allow youth camps to carry the medication was approved by the Senate.


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