Ways to work around the high cost of Epipens, used to administer crucial treatment for severe allergy reactions, are being used more widely in the Southern Tier.
Some emergency medical technicians have been specially trained and then carefully monitored in giving a person a shot with epinephrine in specifically marked syringes.
Administering epinephrine to help with the effects of allergies is not something EMTs could always do. Until recently, only paramedics with more advanced training could administer this treatment.
And while the automatic injectors known as Epipens were previously only available to EMT's, now the syringes labeled for dosage amounts will be available for basic responders who receive the appropriate training.
This new approach, called Check and Inject, was influenced not only by the high cost of Epipens, but also by a desire to minimize wasted energy.
"There's probably six million dollars worht of epinephrine auto injectors wasted in New York State each year becasue they have such a short shelf life," said Ron Hasson, Alstar EMS Resources Manager. Alstar EMS has locations in Jamestown, Dunkirk and Westfield.
2 On Your Side has reported earlier about the Check and Inject system being used by local emergency responders, particularly in Niagara Falls.
A syringe kit is 75 dollars while Epipens for consumers can cost up to 900 dollars. In addition, Check and Inject saves the cost of a local fire department responding.
14 fire departments in Chautauqua County have trained for the syringes. They are among about a third of the ambulance services around the state that have received the training, including some in Erie County.