The EpiPen is a device to administer epinephrine to a patient suffering a severe allergic reaction. The government doesn’t want them to be readily available:
It is deliberately designed to be simple enough for even a child to use unaided . . . And the dose of epinephrine – or adrenaline – dispensed by the EpiPen is so small that, while it is enough to halt allergic reactions, the only likely side effect is a raised heartbeat.
Nevertheless, when the device went on the market a few years ago, US regulators stipulated that it could only be made available on prescription and administered to a specific patient. . . Only around 7 per cent of the people who are at risk of an allergic reaction are now thought to hold EpiPens. . .
Earlier this year a seven-year-old girl in Virginia went into shock when she ate a peanut during a school break. Although the school held EpiPens for other children, it was not allowed to administer one to her, since she was not “named” on any of the prescriptions. Tragically, the child died. And this is not an isolated case: around 1,500 people are thought to die in America each year from similar allergic reactions which could have been reversed with an EpiPen.
(Via the Corner.)