Matt Lesser

State Senator

Matt Lesser

Deputy Majority Leader

Your Independent Voice

May 21, 2019

Sen. Lesser-Introduced Legislation to Provide
Expanded Epinephrine Access Passes State Senate

HARTFORD, CT – Today, legislation State Senator Matt Lesser (D-Middletown) introduced to provide expanded access to life-saving epinephrine to treat anaphylactic allergic reactions passed the state Senate by a unanimous vote.

Last week at a press conference on this bill the Sen. Lesser said he suffered an anaphylactic allergic reaction at the Capitol and learned the Capitol did not stock epinephrine. He was rushed to the hospital to receive the life-saving care he required, but said others may not be as fortunate. Sen. Lesser said expanding access to EpiPens and other epinephrine devices will save lives.

“This legislation will save lives,” said Sen. Lesser. “I am grateful to state Senator Mary Daugherty Abrams and state Representative Robin Comey in particular for her work to help me pass this important bill.”

State Senator Mary Daugherty Abrams (D-Meriden, Middlefield, Rockfall, Middletown, Cheshire), the co-chair of the Public Health Committee, led debate on this bill and said the life-saving impact of expanded epinephrine access cannot be understated.

“During an allergy attack, mere seconds can mean the difference between life and death, and an EpiPen isn’t always within arm’s reach,” said Sen. Abrams. “By making sure these lifesaving tools are readily available in public places, we protect individuals in our communities who suffer from food allergies. I’m excited we’re taking a stand and potentially saving lives with this legislation. I would like to thank Sen. Lesser and Representative Comey for their leadership on this bill.”

State Senator Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor), who is vice chair of the Public Health Committee, agreed.

“Having easy access to epinephrine will save lives,” said Sen. Anwar. “Unfortunately, the number of individuals with allergies, and the severity of those allergies, is increasing. When someone goes into anaphylactic shock, timely presence of epinephrine will save lives. I’m excited to support this and am happy that, as a state, we have moved in the right direction.”

Senate Bill 706 (SB 706), “An Act Concerning Epinephrine Auto Injectors,” will make epinephrine devices and EpiPens available in public venues, camps, preschools and entertainment businesses.

A recent study revealed that 32 million Americans are living with food allergies and 26 million of those affected are adults. Severe food allergies can be life-threatening and, according to the Food and Drug Administration, it is estimated that each year in the United States there are 30,000 emergency room visits, 2,000 hospitalizations, and 150 deaths due to anaphylaxis to food.

Currently 33 other states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation permitting public venues to maintain epinephrine auto injectors. Prior to passage in the state Senate, SB 706 received bipartisan support in the Public Health Committee advancing by a unanimous vote on March 8. The bill now awaits action by the state House of Representatives and a signature by the Governor. Once signed into law, this legislation will go into effect immediately.