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New law aims to ease concerns about liability in emergency EpiPen use

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law Tuesday a bill to protect prescribing medical authorities from civil or professional liability when a police officer delivers an epinephrine auto-injection during an allergy-related emergency. The bill also clarifies protection already afforded to police officers.

illinoisealSenate Bill 2226 is intended to expand availability of the life-saving, first-responder program originally implemented in January 2017 under what is more commonly known as Annie LeGere’s Law. Annie LeGere was just 13 when she died in August 2015 after suffering a severe allergic reaction, likely to something she’d eaten, during a sleepover.

The bill signing took place in Elmhurst, where Annie attended Sandburg Middle School.

“The LeGere family’s tireless efforts have made a meaningful difference in the food allergy community and increased public safety across the state of Illinois,” Rauner said. “The LeGeres lost their daughter, Annie, due to an unforeseen and severe allergic reaction. The use of an EpiPen when first responders arrived at the scene may have slowed the reaction sufficiently to save her life.”

While the original law offered liability protection to administering police officers, SB 2226 expands liability protection to also include those providing the standing prescriptions that supply police agencies with the EpiPens. It also clarifies that officers and prescribers are protected against “civil or professional” liability in the event of injury or death arising from use of an epinephrine auto-injector.

“Inspired by Annie’s tragic and likely preventable passing, food allergy advocates worked with members of the Illinois General Assembly to pass Annie LeGere’s Law,” Rauner said. “The amendments included in SB 2226 should make availability of these life-saving devices more widespread by removing hesitancy among members of the medical prescribing community and increasing confidence among the officers who receive the advanced training needed to administer them.”

“I’m grateful that Gov. Rauner recognizes the crucial and life-saving importance that this EpiPen legislation provides to the community,” said Sen. Chris Nybo, R-Elmhurst. “The Annie LeGere Law is a true community-led effort, and one that has drawn a great deal of interest from law enforcement and health professionals as a vital new public safety measure.”

“I am very grateful to have been a small part of Annie’s team,” said Rep. Deb Conroy, D-Villa Park. “While she was too young to vote or have any political biases, she brought us together to do the best work we can as legislators. I am proud of what Annie helped us accomplish.”

SB 2226 amends the State Police, Illinois Police Training and Medical Practices acts and takes effect immediately. It includes in the protected class physicians, physician’s assistants and advanced practice registered nurses with prescriptive authority who provide a prescription or standing order for epinephrine for an Illinois police department.

The nonprofit Food Allergy Research & Education estimates nearly 15 million people living in the U.S., 6 million of them children, are food allergy sufferers. Food allergies result in more than 300,000 ambulance trips to hospitals annually for children under 18. Epinephrine has been proven effective as a first line of treatment for anaphylactic reactions due to allergy.

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