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Cost of EpiPen continues to rise putting burden on people with allergies(r/news)
That would be pretty easy, actually. If you’ve ever seen the inside of an epi pen, it’s just a big plastic case on a regular syringe that has the safety and plunger stuff internalized. But at its core, a regular syringe and needle are in there.
Those parts can definitely be replicated and the plans shared. At that point you just need an RX for epi and a 3D printer – and the 3D printing community has been amazing about donating time and material to help people with medical prints.
I’ll draw this up myself when I can. I used to have an old epi pen that I took apart – if it’s still around that’ll be my base for measurements.
The best part is, they’re small enough to fit on a standard printer build plate so this is a simple print for anyone to make.
EDIT Thanks for the motivation. This is definitely happening. There’s no reason people need to pay $600 when they were already complaining that $100 was unaffordable, and no parent should be told they have to risk the life of their child because they can’t afford to pay an unreasonably expensive medical cost for medication that is cheap and commonly available. Autoinjectors are ancient and long out of patent, and greed is something that I’m not a fan of, especially when it threatens lives. I’ll release the files as soon as I am able, and as always I release my files totally free – free as in beer as well as free as in speech. I’m really hoping a similar community rises behind this and continually improves the designs, as has happened with open source prosthetics.
I managed to schedule an appointment for this AM and scored a few brand new epi pens. Cost was $545 for two with a discount coupon. Insurance doesn’t cover it.
I also have a vial and some syringes for manual injections. This is what people that can’t afford an epi pen will have to buy. It was really cheap ($22?) but is not portable and there’s no way these go in a child’s school bag.
Also, a friend gave me a “follistim” pen that would work very well for people with allergies, because it is purpose built to do what I was imagining. It’s a housing for regular needles. She has no idea what these cost, but she said the fertility treatments that she used with it were extremely expensive so the Follistim may not be an affordable option. If it is though, it is re-usable and presumably already well distributed to pharmacies.
Measurements for anyone drawing their own version of these:
4mm needle aperture – this is far larger than I expected, and is the tightest tolerance needed in the entire epi pen. Even the most poorly calibrated printer can manage this. With the inhalers I have printed, the nozzle was a quarter the size and would be difficult to print for many people.
11mm diameter “contact patch” at the end. This is where the epi touches the skin.
I’m pretty sure I got the wrong syringe, mine is huge! 10ml seems like far too much! I’ll head back and ask for smaller syringes later, but if anyone has diabetes and a caliper the measurements of a standard syringe would be appreciated!
cone to needle (with replaceable needle assembly) 14mm
syringe cylinder 78mm
syringe outer diameter 10mm
“finger bar” 25mm across full length, 18mm wide at base
Researching 510(k) compliant designs, as well as patents that are open to cloning, I found a number of good products that were and some still are being made. Looking at getting my hands on these to replucate them from hands-on measurements rather than patent drawings, I’ve found that they can be ordered and shipped directly to your house, cheaply.
Example: This generic auto injector is $35 shipped, and is 100% what I was hoping to design. It accepts standard syringes – like you get from the Doctor’s office when you ask for a “vial and syringe manual epi kit” instead of an RX for the overpriced EpiPen specifically. You draw the epi into the vial exactly as instructed by your doctor, then place it in the auto injector. The auto injector can be closed for storage (the most important part of an epi pen’s functionality: not sticking yourself when it isn’t needed which is almost all of the time). When needed, pop off the cap, press button, and needle is injected for intramuscular delivery in the same way the Mylan product does.
This is a superior option for those unable to afford the EpiPen. It costs the same or less than the EpiPen kits did before the ridiculous price hike (for me, $35 injector + $22 epi & syringe prescription = $57 … versus $545 for 2 epi pens), is re-usable (replace the syringe and epi when expired or if it starts looking cloudy after being carried in warm environments), and delivers exactly the right amount of medication because it injects the syring entirely, exactly as it was filled – rather than only delivering ~20% of the epi available like the official Mylan EpiPen.
Best of all, this option puts epi in people’s pockets immediately, no R&D or 90 day FDA waiting period needed, that’s all been accomplished years ago, and the auto injectors tested thoroughly for decades in both home and clinical environments.