NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- With the price of EpiPens soaring, some local first responders have found a way to keep costs down without sacrificing your safety.
After we did the story last week on the high cost of EpiPens, several first responders contacted us about how the cost is impacting their budgets. They told us about a new program that is helping them keep costs low.
It's called Check and Inject and it is done through the University of Rochester. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on an EpiPen kit, first responders get kits of epi-safe syringes measured out for adults and children.
You cut out the cost of the patented injection system of the EpiPen.
Right now, the Big Lakes Regional EMS Council is doing this. That group includes Niagara, Orleans and Genesee Counties.
One of the first to enroll, and the biggest department signed up, is the Niagara Falls Fire Department. They started it in March when their EpiPens expired. Instead of spending three to seven-hundred dollars for an EpiPen kit every year, two for each truck, the Check and Inject kits is only 75 dollars per injection.
Training Chief David McGovern says they are easily saving thousands of dollars every year.
"I have thousands of dollars of expired EpiPens, right now, that we've never used. And whereas this Check and Inject program is if the epinephrine kit goes out of date, we can send it back and they can send us another one because we've already paid for it," says McGovern.
Even though Niagara Falls firefighters have carried EpiPens for years, McGovern says they've only used them two or three times. Since switching to the Check and Inject program, they haven't needed to use the medicine, but it's something they have to carry.
The EMS chief for the Winchester Fire Department in West Seneca wrote a letter to the New York State Attorney General more than a year ago about the cost of EpiPens being a problem. He says he never heard back from the AG's office.