'We could essentially save lives' – Bipartisan bill would expand EpiPen access to all NY first responders

EpiPens can now cost up to $700 each. The assembly members say if the bill is approved it would establish state funding for a bulk purchasing agreement that could lower the cost and make them more accessible.

Antoinette Biordi

May 2, 2023, 10:01 PM

Updated 411 days ago

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Two Long Island assembly members are fighting to get EpiPens into the hands of all first responders in the state.
Currently, only EMTs have access to EpiPens, but police and firefighters do not.
Jake Blumencranz, a Republican from Oyster Bay, says the goal is to make sure the tool is available in as many places as possible.
"It means the world to those people who are suffering," Blumencranz says.
Seventeen-year-old Casey Dubofsky, of Roslyn, has a tree nut allergy and had a life-threatening reaction to a cookie she ate at a restaurant when she was younger. At the time, her parents had no idea about her allergy, and no one had an EpiPen.
In 2023, Dubofsky asked Nassau County lawmakers to help her develop a program for restaurants to train their staff on how to use EpiPens, but the bill never passed.
The Roslyn teen hopes the newly proposed statewide "Epi Act" will help.
"I think officers are here to make people safe and it seems obvious that they should be trained and provided with EpiPens to do so," Dubofsky says.
State leaders say the biggest challenge is the cost of the EpiPens. The assembly members hope the bill will pay for the cost of them and train first responders how to use them.
EpiPens can now cost up to $700 each. The assembly members say if the bill is approved it would establish state funding for a bulk purchasing agreement that could lower the cost and make them more accessible.
"If we have a way to prevent deaths, if we have a way to empower and enable our first responders to be able to deal with this type of reaction, we could essentially save lives," says Taylor Darling, a Democrat from Hempstead.
Blumencranz and Darling say they hope their bipartisan bill gets passed in the Assembly and Senate before the end of the year.


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