A low-cost EpiPen to ward off Rising Healthcare Costs

In today's Solution of the Day, a Maine doctor devises an affordable alternative to the lifesaving drug, which has skyrocketed in price.

Dr. Cathleen London, a family doctor in Milbridge, Maine, devised a workaround for her patients who needed an EpiPen but could not afford the high price of the name-brand injector. She built a simple auto-injector that patients can easily refill when the dose has been used or expired. For customers with limited funds, London’s solution costs $50 initially and $2.50 for a refill, compared to $615 for the EpiPen. Unlike the EpiPen, this device is also reusable.

School systems and other institutions have been slow to consider an EpiPen replacement option partially because they have less incentive to do so. At least 11 states mandate that schools stock epinephrine, which is the main ingredient in the EpiPen and London’s invention used to treat extreme asthma attacks or allergic reactions in emergency situations. The unused EpiPens are thrown away, leading to millions of dollars of waste.

London’s innovation could prevent that waste, and help individuals who cannot afford the climbing costs of healthcare still have access to lifesaving medicine. Though her off-brand medicine requires extra effort on the part of the doctor, and trust on the part of the patient, this simple solution is not only viable but necessary to create better access to the medicine.

Read more here (via The New York Times)

Revenge of the Lunch Lady

A West Virginia food service director successfully introduced healthy and fresh foods to her local school district’s cafeterias in one of the country’s unhealthiest cities. By connecting her district’s schools with the Community Eligibility Provision, director Rhonda McCoy maintained free meals to all students while allowing money to move toward paying cooks and buying healthier food. (via Highline)

Turning Oreo Cheesecake into Dough in the South Bronx

Food entrepreneurs in the Bronx are creating economic opportunities for women who wish to open their own food-industry businesses. Shared professional kitchens and training programs, such as the Bronx Cookspace, are established for women to access at an hourly rate and are designed to provide women with access to tools they cannot afford to find elsewhere. For many women, this is the only way they could create and sell their products, because many do not have a physical storefront.

(Via WNYC News)

Photo header: The New York Times

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