As cost of the EpiPen rises parents turn to schools for help - Tucson News Now

As cost of the EpiPen rises parents turn to schools for help

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The price of an EpiPen, used for immediate treatment of severe allergic reactions, has increased six fold, from $100 in 2009, to $600 now.

Since the increase , Monica Ibarra, registered nurse at Rincon High School said parents have been calling the school to ask whether or not they have EpiPens.

"There's a lot of parents calling and checking in. They have had one that expired, it's only good for one year. So they're asking if we have one available in case of an emergency because they can't right now afford to get another one," Ibarra said.

Luckily, the Tucson Unified School District is able to make sure students who need an EpiPen will have access to one.

All TUSD schools have two EpiPens on campus. Rincon High School has three. One each in the nurse's office, athletic training room and main office.

This is the third year Mylan, the manufacturer, has provided them for all school districts.

One of the EpiPens at Rincon High School helped save the life of a senior last week. Emilio Reyes, ate some of his friend's lunch last Thursday. Reyes, who has a peanut allergy, didn't know the food contained peanuts. He rushed to the nurse for help. 

Ibarra gave Reyes some Benadryl, per TUSD protocol, but quickly realized the symptoms were getting worse. 

"My throat was closing up, my cheeks were getting [swollen] my lip was getting bigger," Reyes said. 

Reyes usually carries an EpiPen but misplaced his. He's never had to use it before. He was checked out by EMTs and said he's thankful the school had one. 

"If it came down to me not having one, it would be horrible," Reyes said. 

Ingrid Reyes, Emilio's mother, said the dramatic increase in the price of the EpiPen worries her. 

She said it will be tough to budget for this life saving drug for her as well as her son. 

"We have to budget. We live paycheck to paycheck. That's going to be a scary one. When our EpiPen prescriptions run out. They're only good for a year so I'm afraid to see how much our part is," Ingrid Reyes said. 

EpiPens were used nine times last year on TUSD campuses. Three times so far this year, according to Nikki Stefan, director of health services with TUSD.

Copyright 2016 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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