Epi Pen bulk purchasing plan praised

Severe food allergies have increased need

FILE - This Oct. 10, 2013, file photo, shows an EpiPen epinephrine auto-injector, a Mylan product, in Hendersonville, Texas. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski, File)

PALMER, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Senate approved the bulk purchase of Epi Pens to provide a plentiful supply at a moderate price.

In the words of Sen. Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow), who proposed the purchase program, “it’s a stand against the outrageous and greedy price of Epi Pens.” Lesser was referring to the uproar that ensued following a price increase in Epi Pens last year.

Baystate Wing Hospital emergency physician Dr. Nicholas Fay in Palmer told 22News that Epi Pen use is on the rise.

“We’ve seen some sort of an uptick in severe food allergies ever since I started practicing over 20 years ago. Allergic people need the Epi Pen,” Fay said.

Veteran 22News videographer Don Sutherland suffers from severe food allergies. He considers the Epi Pen a lifeline.

“It takes effect almost immediately. It gives you time to call an ambulance, someone to get you to the hospital quick enough so you’re not struggling for breath, you’re not passing out,” Sutherland said.

The Epi Pen’s lifesaving capability was highlighted by the Western Massachusetts Red Cross several years ago. Agawam school bus driver Sue Lecrenski and high school student Whitney Short were selected as Hometown Heroes, after providing an Epi Pen that saved the life of a fellow student suffering from a severe allergic reaction.