Winnipeg parents push for policy change to allow EpiPen cabinets
Published Monday, November 13, 2017 3:29PM CST
Last Updated Monday, November 13, 2017 7:03PM CST
Some Winnipeg parents are pushing for a policy change within the Winnipeg School Division to allow emergency EpiPen cabinets in schools.
EpiPens deliver a shot of adrenaline to those suffering from an allergic reaction.
Under the current policy, a Winnipeg School Division spokesperson said staff members trained to use EpiPens are “only able to administer medication that’s been prescribed.”
Lauren Phillips is one of the parents calling for the policy change.
Her daughter, 9, lives with an allergy to cashews, pistachios and mangos and carries two EpiPens with her at school in case of an allergic reaction.
Phillips would like to see the division install locked and alarmed EpiPen cabinets stocked with at least two EpiPens so they’re visible in school hallways in case of an emergency.
“Where an Epi may not be able to be found or it may not be available or it doesn’t work,” said Phillips. “That’s where our gap is right now.”
“In terms of general knowledge and care it’s really exemplary in the schools.”
The cabinet would be at one-time cost of around $225 and a yearly cost of around $200 to have it equipped with two EpiPens, Phillips said.
The Winnipeg School Division said schools currently work with parents to come up with a plan for children with EpiPens.
For children with known allergies, the Winnipeg School Division keeps EpiPens in a locked space in the school’s office which staff members have access to in case of an emergency.
Older children generally carry their own EpiPens.
In many cases the division said it has a backup prescription EpiPen on hand provided by parents if their child has a prescription.
Two pharmacists contacted by CTV News said EpiPens are available without a prescription but added most people who require one usually bring in a prescription.
Pharmacist Kathy Christle at Osborne Village Pharmacy said the risk of not getting an EpiPen injection to treat anaphylaxis far outweighs the risk of getting the shot when it may not be needed.
Phillips said cost and safety are two of the main concerns she’s heard in response to the idea.
She said parents aren’t trying to offload the costs of EpiPens onto schools and believes the EpiPens wouldn’t pose a safety risk if they’re in locked cabinets.