- - Friday, November 8, 2019

Earlier this month it was widely reported that a seventh grader inspired legislation to allow restaurants to stock epinephrine devices in the event of an anaphylaxis attack suffered by a patron. 

Only days after, Chris Trimper, a father and scion of one of the oldest, family-owned theme park businesses in the U.S., died from suffering an anaphylactic attack at a restaurant in Ocean City, Maryland. If epinephrine devices were stocked at the restaurant Chris Trimper dined at, just maybe Chris would not have died.

The Coalition for Lifesaving Epinephrine Access and Responsibility (CLEAR) is leading the effort to expand access to lifesaving epinephrine throughout all of the United States, with a particular focus for children’s access in heavily populated venues. One of the core goals is to prevent, mitigate deaths and increase awareness among the public. CLEAR is fast-becoming the largest legacy safety initiative before the U.S. Congress in years, if not decades. 


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Through harnessing the support of the public, families, consumer groups, national trade associations and stakeholders — including professional sports leagues with hundreds of stadiums, rinks and arenas — as well as transportation systems — including airplanes, rail and cruise lines — CLEAR is fulfilling a heretofore unmet need in seeking answers to the ambiguities the public has been asking for years. 

For example, why are epinephrine devices perennially listed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as in a shortage when this unacceptable “shortage” is never pre-emptively mitigated? If the 50 U.S. airlines which sought and secured a waiver from the U.S. Department of Transportation, why was this waiver never announced in a public manner by either the Federal Aviation Administration or the airlines themselves? 



We can only expect to lessen deaths from anaphylaxis if we address why drug shortages are “chronic.” CLEAR is tackling this challenge head on, directly, and with confidence. CLEAR is hosting congressional briefings, speaking with senior appointees in the White House and finding that there is a path to bipartisanship beneath the veneer of incessant impeachment coverage. 

CLEAR is stepping up to probe the minutiae and origin of drug shortage causation. CLEAR is bridging the partisan divide by acting as an intermediary between congressional leaders and White House staff through mutual trust built on decades of relationships among both. 

Noble efforts require noble intentions. CLEAR is proud to report the motivations of policymakers within both congressional and White House leadership specific to epinephrine access issues are building comity, shared-purpose on behalf of the American people through honesty, candor and an unyielding energy toward achieving great strides in safeguarding the public’s health.

The cost of not trying to secure solutions in expanding access to lifesaving epinephrine is too great a toll on our collective American conscience, a paralysis on leadership. Our children deserve the leadership exemplified in the 7th grader who, devoid of a calculating political compass and the embodiment of pure, singular mission to do what is right, inspired legislation in this critical area of urgency.

With apologies to no one, CLEAR is relentlessly pursuing fact-based solutions with all interested parties to lead, regardless of political affiliation. The White House is leading, Congress must do likewise, or they will surely follow.

• Robert K. Houton is founder of the Coalition for Lifesaving Epinephrine Access and Responsibility (CLEAR). CLEAR has no financial conflicts and is self-funded with no financial conflicts.

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