AMR RuralMetro to stop use of EpiPens because of rising costs

Posted at 1:20 PM, Aug 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-28 09:42:46-04

AMR RuralMetro will discontinue their use of EpiPens because of the skyrocketing prices

The ambulance company does not receive a discount on the life-saving medication, meaning they pay about $700 per set of two pens. Each ambulance must be stocked with two adult dosage and two pediatric dosage Epipens.

"I checked the price, and was like 'wow'. It went from 400 to 700 and I'm just wondering, when will it stop?" said Scott Karaszewski, Chief EMS officer of AMR RuralMetro. Karaszewski orders the supplies for all of the ambulances.

Stocking each RuralMetro rig with Epipens cost the company about $42,000 last time they bought a new supply. The pens need to be replaced every 12-18 months and Karaszewski says it's tens of thousands of dollars in the trash. AMR RuralMetro only uses one or two pens each year because often when paramedics respond to the scene, patients have already administered their own dose of epinephrine. 

To reduce the amount of money that's wasted, the company will switch to "Check and Inject" kits this fall. 

"It'll bring us savings of about $40,000," said Karaszewski. 

The kits include a small vial of epinephrine, a needle and a syringe. Paramedics and EMTs will then administer the correct dose to a patient, instead of using the automated Epipen.

"The savings will allow us to keep up, update things like technology and other products out there," said Karaszewski.

Currently all emergency service providers are going through training for the "Check and Inject" kits before the September switchover.