STAMFORD, Conn. – Americares is delivering epinephrine to free and charitable clinics across the United States to protect children and adults from serious allergic reactions as they spend more time outdoors this summer.
The Sandoz division of Novartis recently donated more than 4,000 packs (over 8,000 individual injections) of its Symjepi (epinephrine) 0.3 mg Injectable medication to Americares for distribution to partner clinics in the U.S. The health-focused relief and development organization is delivering the medicine free of charge to clinics and community health centers upon request.
“Severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, can be life-threatening. It is critical that patients with known allergies have immediate access to this life-saving medication,” said Americares chief medical officer and technical unit vice president Dr. Julie Varughese. “This donation will help protect low-income children and adults at increased risk of a medical emergency, particularly as we head toward the peak summer season and see an increase in insect bites.”
Epinephrine is an emergency treatment for severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, that can be triggered by food allergies, insect stings or some medications. Anaphylaxis can cause swelling of the lips or tongue, trouble breathing and loss of consciousness, among other symptoms.
Severe, life-threatening allergic reactions are common in the U.S. A 2014 study by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America found nearly one in 50 Americans is at risk for anaphylaxis. And the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned food allergies are a growing public health concern affecting an estimated 4 to 6% of children in the U.S.
The single-dose, pre-filled syringe and device combination donated by Sandoz can be an alternative to epinephrine auto-injectors. It is FDA approved for use by adults and in children weighing approximately 66 pounds or more.
“We are hoping that this donation can help address a critical need in the U.S. due to the ongoing shortage of epinephrine injections,” said Sandoz president Carol Lynch. “This is a life-saving medicine, which is why Sandoz is making Symjepi immediately available to U.S. patients through Americares to help bridge the shortage gap during these summer months.”
In the U.S., Americares is the largest nonprofit provider of medical aid to organizations serving low-income and uninsured patients. Americares provides medicine, supplies, education and training to a network of more than 1,000 partner clinics nationwide. Americares U.S. Program helps partner clinics increase capacity, provide comprehensive care, improve health outcomes and reduce costs for patients.
Since 1986, Novartis and Sandoz together have donated nearly $300 million worth of medicine to support health programs in 113 countries. In 2016, Sandoz made a commitment to donate up to $10 million worth of high-quality generic medicines annually to Americares for distribution worldwide.