I help run a non-profit "MakerSpace", if you are not familiar with such places they are basically a membership based workshop. They are usually full of people wanting to learn new skills, make stuff, and tinker. Last week at the White House there was a meeting of MakerSpace leaders. So there was a meeting of a bunch of do it yourself, lets just build it types all together when the EpiPen news broke out. If you missed it, the manufacturer got government funds to develop the EpiPen, then recently squashed some competition, got legislation passed to require all schools in the country to have EpiPens on hand, then raised the price from around $50-$70 to $600. The group of makers said there had to be an alternative because people were saying there was just no way they could afford this lifesaving device.
They came up with a list of items that your doctor can prescribe that would allow someone to self inject the epinephrine just like an EpiPen. The cost is about $60 before taxes and shipping, with no insurance and it is reusable. There is some ongoing discussion on if it's the best, if there are other options, if it is the right size of needle for everyone, etc. The biggest concern so far is that the medicine is in a glass ampule and you would need a 'filter needle' to prevent picking up glass shards. This isn't meant to be a shopping list, but more of a list to take to your doctor as an alternative to discuss. EpiPens are serious, meant to save a life in sever allergic reactions. This alternative involves opening a vial, drawing it into an auto injector and then using it. In the panic of a severe allergic reaction its some fumbling around vs the EpiPen, so this is really meant for those who just absolutely can not afford the EpiPen and would go without it otherwise. This isn't meant to just save some money.
I don't want to just post the list and someone grab it and think 'this is the exact stuff I need'. David Norris of another MakerSpace has been putting up some additional information as they find it. I'm going to link the Facebook page where you can see the comments and concerns. David Norris' name is linked there so you can contact him directly if you wish. He was the impromptu group head that sat down and came up with the list. I'm not sure how to link directly to the post, but we don't put much stuff up so it's right at the top.
I don't want to seem like I'm just directing people to read our site, so here is the list anyway. But PLEASE go ready the post in case things change and I don't notice and this post here doesn't get updated. We get no money in any way for any of this. It's just meant to help some people who may really need it. It's not exactly permaculture but perhaps self reliant related in that someone without insurance and without $600 in their pocket doesn't die to a peanut or the like.
This is an excellent example of #makers coming together to find solutions to problems. Most of you have likely heard of the EpiPen price hikes in the news the last week or so. The price going from $57 each to $600 each putting a strain on those who can not afford the life saving device. But the device is just a one time use automatic injector loaded with Epinepherine. The group of MakerSpace leaders meeting at the White House this week found a solution in a day. Here is a list originated by that group. Total cost before taxes and shipping (with no insurance reductions) $59.15, refillable and makes the per use cost around $1.50.
David Norris of Cyberia Makerspace
Some of us who met at the White House this week have formed an "open innovation medical devices" group to try to provide DIY solutions to devices the medical industry is killing people over or refuses to work on. This week's Epipen announcement was an excellent example of how quickly a group like that could come up with a solution. Here is a DIY Epipen kit for $1.50 per dose (cost spread over 100 doses) that your doctor can write you prescriptions for:
1.) $4.45 -- 1 mL epinephrine vial (contains enough for 3 adult doses, or 6 child doses)
2.) $32.95 -- Autoject 2 (general use injection aid device)
3.) $21.75 -- (box of 100) 0.3mL syringes
Now you have a cheap, refillable EpiPen with an average price of about $1.50/refill.