For two years the Anaphylaxis Campaign – together with Allergy UK, the British Society for Allergy & Clinical Immunology (BSACI), the British Paediatric Allergy Immunity and Infection Group (BPAIIG), and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) – campaigned for a change in the law to allow schools, pre-schools and nurseries to hold generic adrenaline auto-injectors, and ensure they have sufficient trained staff to operate the device in case of an emergency.
We are delighted that the Campaign has been successful. From 1st October 2017, the Human Medicines (Amendment) Regulations 2017 has allowed schools in the UK to buy adrenaline auto-injector devices (known as AAIs) without a prescription to use in an emergency on children who are at risk of a severe allergic reaction (known as anaphylaxis) but whose own device is not available or not working. This could be because their AAI(s) are broken, or out-of-date, for example.
Our helpline and information team have answered frequently asked questions we have received through our national helpline from school nurses and school staff about spare pens in schools and The Human Medicines (Amendment) Regulations 2017. Links to guidance for schools and our top tips and advice are here.
Purchasing Adrenaline Auto-Injector (AAI) Generic Pens for Schools
The DOH Guidance on the use of adrenaline auto-injectors in schools 2017 sets out that schools can purchase AAIs from a pharmaceutical supplier, such as a local pharmacy, without a prescription, provided the general advice relating to these transactions are observed: i.e. small quantities on an occasional basis and the school does not intend to profit from it. A supplier will need a request signed by the principal or head teacher (ideally on appropriate headed paper) stating:
- The name of the school for which the product is required;
- The purpose for which that product is required, and
- The total quantity required.
A template letter which can be used for this purpose is provided in Appendix 1, and can also be downloaded at: www.sparepensinschools.uk
Please note that pharmacies are not required to provide AAIs free of charge to schools: the school must pay for them as a retail item. The retail price is circa £26 and your local pharmacy may add a small handling charge.
We are aware that some schools are being charged substantially more than this. Please contact the Helpline on 01252 542029 if you have concerns regarding the cost of AAIs.
Our FREE online anaphylaxis training course AllergyWise for Schools is designed to ensure that key staff in schools are fully aware of the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, how to provide emergency treatment and the implications for management of severely allergic children from Key Stages 1 to 5 in an education setting. Find out more and register here.