“The most magical place on Earth” has just made a monumental advance in accommodations for those with food allergies. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Disney Cruise Lines has inked a deal with Mylan Inc., the distributor of the EpiPen, to make stock epinephrine auto-injectors available at (or aboard) its key U.S. properties, including California’s Disneyland and Florida’s famous Disney World.
“We are very proud to be working with Disney, which already has a strong reputation for meeting the needs of people managing severe allergies, and believe we can further raise awareness of anaphylaxis through this collaboration and our joint commitment to education,” Mylan CEO Heather Bresch said in a media release.
This is the first major placement of “stock epinephrine” outside of schools. Such auto-injectors are not prescribed to an individual, but are kept available in case of anyone’s severe allergic reaction. (Individuals are still meant to carry their own auto-injectors.)
EpiPen and EpiPen Jr auto-injectors will be placed at multiple locations at Disney resorts, parks and on cruise ships. Disney guide maps will now include an EpiPen symbol, identifying auto-injector locations – similar to what is currently done for automated external defibrillators. Signage in the parks and on cruise ships will also be updated to help direct guests to the life-saving medicine.
“For our guests who live with severe allergies every day, identifying EpiPen locations is an additional tool they’ll have for their anaphylaxis management plan,” said Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
Mylan and Disney also plan to work toward introducing educational materials, which will discuss signs, symptoms and how to be prepared for a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction.
The EpiPen announcement follows Florida’s new legislature that allows public venues – such as restaurants, sports arenas and theme parks – to carry and store epinephrine auto-injectors for emergency use by the public. The Emergency Allergy Treatment Act (HB 1131), which was signed into law in June, ensures that epinephrine is readily accessible if anaphylaxis occurs – a particularly important step for those with unknown allergies.
“People who know they are allergic to various types of stings, they’re usually good about having an auto-injector,” Rep. Matt Hudson, who introduced the bill, told Allergic Living. “But in the case of food allergies, sometimes you just flat out don’t know.”
EpiPen auto-injectors are scheduled to appear at the Disney locations and on the cruise line later this year. It’s an important safety measure since, as Bresch points out, “Like life, severe allergic reactions are unpredictable, so people need to be prepared.”