Durbin Works with Chicago Public Schools to Ensure Access to Life-Saving EpiPens

CHICAGO – In the midst of nationwide shortages of EpiPens, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today joined Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to discuss his recent role in ensuring that CPS obtained a much-needed new supply of the life-saving medication.  CPS had a supply of 1,200 EpiPens that were expiring on February 28, but due to drug shortages, schools were told the EpiPens would not be replaced in a timely manner. After Senator Durbin’s office—working with CPS—engaged directly and repeatedly with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the manufacturer Mylan, the full shipment of EpiPens arrived to CPS on March 1.


“I am so pleased to report that the new supply of EpiPens got to our schools on March 1st. This means that CPS continues to be ready to address the life-or-death health needs of our students,” Durbin said. “I thank the FDA and Mylan for working so closely with us to make this happen. Life-saving drugs are only life-saving if a patient can access them, which is why I will continue to fight for affordable and accessible medication for Illinoisans.”


"Senator Durbin has led the charge to increase access to life-saving medications for our youth, and we are so grateful he secured an expedited shipment of EpiPens for our students," said LaTanya D. McDade, Chief Education Officer at Chicago Public Schools. "CPS was the first large urban district to implement a policy of stocking EpiPens at every school, and thanks to Senator Durbin, we will continue to be a national leader in this space."


Since mid-2018, there have been nationwide shortages of EpiPens. A survey last year by the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) organization found that more than 400 patients in 45 states, including Illinois, were having difficulty obtaining EpiPens at their pharmacies. EpiPens are vital for the 15 million Americans who suffer from food allergies, including one in 13 children.


In 2011, Senator Durbin introduced bipartisan legislation to encourage schools across the country to maintain access to critical life-saving medication for children with food and other allergies. The School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act was signed into law by President Obama in 2013.